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MODIFICATION OF WASHINGTON CUSTODY ORDERS

Even after parents divorce and a custody order has been issued by the court, situations arise which necessitate one party to seek modification of the prior order. Sometimes one or both parties have experienced significant changes of circumstances, while others may have a change in work schedule or a planned move that necessitates such a change.

In order to obtain a modification, the parent seeking it must be able to prove to the judge one of several things. Obviously, if the parties agree to the requested change and it is in the best interests of the child to do so, the court will grant it. However, in many cases an agreement to a change is not available to the moving party.

In cases in which the other party does not agree, the moving parent must demonstrate the change is necessary because it is in the best interests of the child due to the significant change in circumstances. The court often grants such requests as well in situations in which a parent's change in work schedule makes it impossible to adhere to the old schedule, when one parent has had to relocate elsewhere or when one parent has failed to exercise his or her parenting time according to the ordered schedule for longer than one year.

There are other situations in which a court might grant a requested modification in child custody. When a situation indicates a need for a modification of a prior order, a parent seeking it may benefit consulting with a family law attorney. Even when there is a dispute over one party requesting a needed change, it is still possible to seek one and obtain it through filing a post-dissolution modification motion with the court.

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