When parents in Virginia are married they need to discuss various aspects of their children’s lives and make many different decisions on their behalf. There is no one hovering over them that is controlling the decisions that they make for their children. However, this can change if the parents go through a divorce. Through the divorce there will be a child custody and visitation order which governs which parent makes decisions for the children and when the children will be with each parent.
If there is a disagreement on a particular decision for the children, a judge may ultimately need to determine what will occur in a particular situation. Parents cannot simply make changes to these orders on their own either. The parents need to agree on the proposed changes or they need an order from a judge. If one parent is not happy with the current order, they may need to file motions to request modifications to the current orders.
A change in the circumstances could result in a modification
Current custody orders will not be modified though simply because a parent is no longer happy with the current order. There must be a change in the circumstances that necessitates a change in the order. Usually, the change in the circumstances must be material changes and not just superficial or temporary changes in the circumstances. The new circumstances and requested changes to the order must benefit the children as well. In fact, the most important factor when deciding whether or not to change an order is whether it benefits the children.
Life in Virginia is unpredictable and over the years both parents and the children’s circumstances may change. If there is a current custody order in place governing the parties though, making necessary changes can be more difficult. Unless the parents agree on the proposed changes, the parent seeking the change, may need to file a motion with the court and have a judge decide for them. Modifying custody orders is not always easy and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.