Legal Information: Massachusetts


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November 28, 2016

If a custody order is already in place, can I get it changed?

Possibly.  You can file to have your current custody order modified (changed) if there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the order was issued, and changing the order will be in the best interests of the child.*  Most modification actions are brought because one parent wants to relocate to a new state or county that is far away, visitation arrangements are no longer working, or the parent who has custody is not meeting the child’s needs.**

Generally, you will file a complaint for modification at the probate and family court that issued your original custody order.  The hearing may be similar to previous custody hearings, but you will have to prove a material and substantial change in circumstances has occurred.**

* M.G.L.A. 208 § 28
** Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. "Family Law Advocacy for Low and Moderate Income Litigants: Child Custody" (2008)