Legal Information: Massachusetts


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October 24, 2018

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.1 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.2

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.2

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