4 Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody
December 1, 2022

Child custody isn’t set in stone, and situations change over time as the child grows. Custody modification in PA can be requested when the situation changes for either the parents or the child.

Custody agreements are subject to change until the child turns 18, which means that parents have a right to petition to modify custody. However, PA judges have a set of guidelines to follow during the process.

While there are any number of reasons why custody could be modified, below we discuss just four reasons for custody modification in PA.

1. Failure to Follow Custody Terms

The terms of the custody order may be changed if one party fails to follow the order. This can involve not returning the child on time, withholding custody, or violating the provisions for making important decisions for the child. You’ll need to supply evidence for these instances, but you can petition to modify custody. PA judges will take these circumstances into consideration. Violation of the custody order is not always grounds for modification, but it can influence the judge’s decision.

It’s best to work with a family law attorney with experience in these matters to ensure that the outcome is best for your child’s well-being. The other parent may be held in contempt of court if they fail to follow the terms in the agreement, so come prepared with evidence.

2. Physical Relocation

When the custodial parent moves, it is not guaranteed to impact the custody schedule.

If the move significantly burdens the child or makes the current schedule difficult to maintain, it may be considered a valid reason to amend the custody schedule.  If a parent wants to move and the move will make it difficult to follow the current schedule, the parent who is moving needs to get the consent of the other parent or request permission from the court.  The judge may or may not allow the parent to move or the move may require a change to the schedule, which could include changing the primary custodian.

3. Change in Child’s Needs

As a young person grows and their needs change, you may need to take action to amend the initial custody order. Custody modification in PA can occur when the parent best suited to care for the child changes and/or if the child develops an emotional, mental, or physical disorder that one parent is more equipped to handle.

A parent can petition to modify custody in PA if these circumstances arise.

4. Danger to the Child

One of the most important factors when considering reasons for custody modification in PA is the child’s safety. At the heart of every custody agreement is the child’s best interest. Any form of abuse, direct or indirect, that puts the child in harm’s way can be a reason for custody modification in PA.

A judge may change the agreement if one parent is not the abuser but fails to protect the child from the circumstances (even through failure to act). Work with an experienced family attorney to secure the best outcome for your child.


When it comes to your child’s safety, you want to trust an experienced legal team to get the best outcome.

When you work with Daley Zucker’s child custody lawyers in Harrisburg, you know you’re equipped with a seasoned team that puts you and your child first. They’ll fight for you to have the Order modified to ensure that the results are favorable for the most important person in your life.

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