When can a child custody agreement be modified in Virginia?

Over time, there may be situational changes that require a modification to an existing child custody agreement. However, the court won’t approve a change to this agreement for just any reason. In Virginia, child custody agreements can only be modified if there’s been a material change in circumstances, and the requested schedule alteration is deemed in the best interest of the child.

Circumstances That May Warrant a Child Custody Agreement Modification in Virginia #

In the past, the court has not granted requests for child custody agreement modifications based on inefficient communication regarding visitation, a custodial parent’s denial of visitation, or a change in work schedule allowing a parent to work at home. Rather, the reason for the modification must be a significant change in circumstances, such as:

  • A move
  • A change in the child’s education, medical, or other needs
  • A change in a parent’s employment situation or work schedule that impacts the child
  • A change in a parent’s home life, such as a marriage or divorce, that could affect the stability of the home
  • Negative changes in the other parent’s home life, such as alcohol or drug addiction, that creates an unstable or unsafe environment for the child

Virginia Family Courts Use the Best Interests of the Child Standard #

Once the parent asking for the modification has shown that a significant change in circumstances has occurred, the court will determine if the requested schedule change is in the child’s best interest. Virginia courts focus on the following factors when making this determination:

  • The child’s age, as well as his physical and mental condition
  • The age and physical and mental condition of each parent
  • The existing relationship between each parent and child
  • The child’s needs
  • The role that each parent plays in the child’s care and upbringing
  • The willingness of each parent to actively support the child’s relationship with the other parent
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to maintain a close relationship with the child
  • The child’s preference, provided he’s of reasonable intelligence, understanding, and age
  • A family history of physical or sexual abuse
  • Additional factors deemed relevant to the court

Schedule a Consultation #

Whichever parent is seeking modifications to a child custody agreement, it’s essential to consult an experienced Family Lawyer. Quest Law PLLC can help you understand your rights and options when requesting a change to the agreement.