Legal Information: Maryland


November 13, 2017

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

A judge may change a custody order under certain circumstances.*  When one parent wants to change an existing custody order, it is his/her burden to show the court why it should be changed.**

The law in Maryland favors keeping the living situation of the child stable, so a judge might not change your custody order unless you can show that something in the current environment is harmful or that your home will be better.**  To do this, you must show:

  • A change in circumstance that may affect the welfare of a child has taken place in your home or the other parent's home; and
  • A new custody and/or visitation arrangement is in the child's "best interest."***

* See Md. Code, Fam. Law § 1-201(b)(4)
** Levitt v. Levitt, 556 A.2d 1162 (Md. 1989), The People’s Law Library of Maryland
*** Wagner v. Wagner, 674 A.2d 1 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1996)