If a PR&R order is already in place, how can I get it changed?
Either party can try to modify (change) a PR&R order if you can show a “real, substantial and unanticipated change of circumstances” has happened since the order was issued. If you can prove this, then the the judge will evaluate whether changing the order would be in the child’s best interests.1 (Note: The law regarding modification is different for orders issued when a child is conceived as the result of a sexual assault. For more information, go to If my child was conceived as a result of sexual assault, can the offender get parental rights and responsibilities?)
Note: If the judge modifies an order for physical responsibility, s/he is supposed to set a date for a child support modification hearing. At the same time, the judge can issue a temporary support order pending the modification hearing so that the amount of child support reflects the change in physical responsibility.2
Some examples of “real, substantial and unanticipated change of circumstances” may include:
- Relocation due to a job or a family emergency;
- A complete breakdown in communication between parents who have shared custody; or
- The other parent becomes abusive toward the child.
However, there can be many other situations that meet the definition of “real, substantial and unanticipated change of circumstances” that are not mentioned here. Talk to a lawyer in your area to find out if your situation might qualify you to get the custody order changed. Go to VT Finding a Lawyer for free and paid legal resources.
1 VT ST T. 15 § 668(a)
2 VT ST T. 15 § 668(b)