If a custody order is already in place, how can I get it changed?
Because custody is decided in the best interest of the child, an order is not usually permanent. If a custody order is already in place, either party can ask the judge to change it by filing a petition for a modification of custody.*
To modify (change) a custody order, you will need to go to the court that gave you the order, even if you have moved. Generally, once a court has heard a case, that court will keep the case, even if you move to another state. If you have moved, you can ask the judge to change the jurisdiction (transfer the case) to the new state that you are in although this is often hard to do, especially if the other parent disagrees. See Can I change the state where my case is being heard? for more information about transferring a case to another state.
If you would like to change a custody order because of military deployment, see The effect of military deployment on custody/visitation for more information.
Modifying a custody order or changing the jurisdiction is often complicated and, as with all custody issues, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about this. Go to our PA Finding a Lawyer page to find someone who can help you.
* 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5338