Modifying a Custody Order

When going through a divorce or a custody matter, often people are not thinking beyond their immediate future. Divorce is an incredibly difficult process and many people want to “just get it over with”. While the Orders may have been an accurate depiction of your financial, work and personal life at the time they were entered, your life may have drastically changed—as should the Orders.

Modifying an existing custody order is also known as modifying legal decision-making or parenting time. In Arizona, a modification to an order regarding legal decision making authority cannot be made until one year has passed since the entry of the last Order except in very limited circumstances. Cases involving child abuse or domestic violence are the exception and should be filed immediately after becoming aware of such incidents. Before the Court will even consider modifying your Order there must be a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances” that affect your Order. A substantial and continuing change in circumstance may include, but are not limited to:

  • The child’s present environment is considered dangerous to their physical, mental or emotional health;
  • If the parent with whom the child resides receives temporary duty or deployments from the United States military;
  • If one of the parents is charged with a dangerous crime;
  • And many other reasons that may affect the day to day lives of the child or the parent’s ability to parent.

Modifying an existing custody order can be a difficult path to navigate, and having an experienced attorney can help maximize your ability to obtain such a modification.

If you find yourself or a loved are in need of modifying or enforcing a current custody order, and need the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney, please call OWENS & PERKINS at480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.