When you and your child’s other parent share custody in Massachusetts, situations may arise that lead one of you to request a modification to your existing child custody arrangement. Certain circumstances have to exist for the state to consider changing your current arrangement. Also, the process involved in requesting a modification varies based on whether one or both of you wants the change.
Per Mass.gov, the person or persons requesting the change to parenting time must be able to show that two things have happened.
What you need to request a change
When requesting a modification to your Massachusetts child custody order, you or the parent who wants the change must show that a substantial change in circumstances has taken place since the custody order first took effect. Then, the person wanting the change has to show how the proposed change would be in the best interests of the child at the center of the matter.
When one parent wants a modification
If just you, or just your ex, wants to see a change in custody or parenting time, the party seeking the change must file a Complaint for Modification. When doing so, this party has to outline how circumstances have changed since the custody order went into place.
When both parents want a modification
If both of you agree that a custody change is necessary, you may be able to ask the court to change the order together. You then must complete the necessary paperwork and should expect to receive a response from a judge within about 30 days.
Please note, too, that there are often small fees involved in modifying a child custody order in Massachusetts.