If a custody order is already in place, how can I get it changed?
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.1 To change (modify) 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 transfer the case (change the jurisdiction) 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.
1 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5338
If I move to a new state, can I transfer my child custody case there?
After a final custody order is issued, there may come a time when you and your children move to a different state. For information about how to request to transfer the custody case to a new state, please go to the Transferring a custody case to a different state section in our general Custody page. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you may likely first need to get permission from the court or from the other parent to move your children out of state. Please talk to a lawyer to make sure your plans to move don’t violate your custody order or your state’s parental kidnapping laws.