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Does Pennsylvania allow child custody modifications?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Divorce Law

Both during a divorce and after it, for many couples, the most contentious part of the divorce is child custody arraignments. And, once the child custody order is issued, one may think that it is set in stone. However, child custody arrangements can become outdated as circumstances change. When this happens, the question often comes up, does Pennsylvania allow child custody modifications? Yes. In our states, there are processes in place to address life changes and ensure the best interests of the child are met.

What changes?

Modifications to child custody agreements are allowed under specific circumstances. These include significant changes affecting the child’s welfare, such as relocation, evolving needs of the child or shifts in the parents’ living or employment situations.

Legal considerations

Courts prioritize the child’s well-being when considering custody modifications. Factors assessed include safety, parental involvement, stability and the ability of each parent to provide love, affection and guidance.

How to request a modification?

To initiate a modification, one must file a Petition for Modification of a Custody Order with the appropriate county court. This petition should outline the substantial changes and explain why the modification serves the child’s best interests.

The role of mediation or working it out

Before a child custody court hearing, parents may be required to attend mediation sessions to reach an agreement outside of court. If the mediator can facilitate an agreement between you and your ex-spouse, the court can approve it and modify the original child custody order.

Though, even prior to court, the parents can work out different child custody arraignments. You can present this written modification to the court for approval as well.


Child custody modifications in Pennsylvania are intended to accommodate the evolving needs of children and families. Understanding the legal process and taking proactive steps ensures the child’s welfare remains paramount.