Modifying a Custody Order

Modifying a Custody Order

Family Law Attorney Ogden

Utah law provides a specific process that one must follow before they can modify a custody order.  We discussed this process extensively in a video and blog post that you can access here, or you can continue reading the simplified process below.

At Red Law here in Ogden, Utah, we have represented parents in all types of modification cases.  We understand the legal, strategic, and emotional aspects of these types of cases.  We help you protect your best interests and the best interests of your children.

How to Modify a Custody Order in Utah

After a court has entered a custody order, one or both parents may seek to change the court’s order.  The parent that seeks to change the custody order must file a “Verified Petition to Modify.” This Petition will include a sworn statement verifying that there is evidence that will show that the circumstances of the child or the parent(s) have changed significantly since the court’s initial custody order.

What a Court looks For When Modifying a Custody Order

A court must find two things before they will modify a custody order:

  1. That a material and substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the original custody order was entered by the court; and
  2. A change in the terms and conditions of that original custody order would be an improvement for the child, and would be in the best interest of the child.

This means that before a court will look into what is in the best interest of the child, the court must first be convinced that a material and substantial change in circumstances has occurred.  The party seeking to modify custody must point to certain factors in the life of the child and/or the lives of the parents that are substantially different than when the court entered its order of custody.  These differences must amount to a situation where custody, the life of the child, or the ability to parent, is actually affected.

After the court makes a finding that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances, then the court can look to see whether a modification of the terms and conditions of the existing custody order would be “an improvement for and in the best interest of the child.”  If the child is thriving, happy, and well-adjusted under the current custody order, the court is less likely to make any changes.