Legal Information: District of Columbia


April 1, 2022

Can a parent who does not have custody have access to the child’s records?

Only a parent who has sole or joint legal custody over the child has the right to access the child’s school, medical, dental, and psychological records and the right to speak with and obtain information regarding the child from school officials, health care providers, counselors, or other persons interacting with the child.1 If one parent has sole legal custody, then that parent can choose whether or not to share those records with the non-custodial parent (unless the custody order specifically says that the parent must share those records).

1 D.C. Code § 16-914(a)(2)(B)

Can I change my custody order?

You or the other parent can ask the judge to terminate (end) or modify (change) your custody order (or the judge can do it on his/her own if appropriate). In order to change (or terminate) a custody order, you have to prove that there has been a “material and substantial change in circumstances” and that changing or terminating the custody order would be in the child’s best interest.1

1 D.C. Code § 16-914(f)

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