After a custody has been set, it is very difficult to modify. In general, a motion to modify custody may not be brought until a year has passed since the initial custody determination. If there has been a motion to change custody, the parents must wait two years before filing another motion to modify custody. However, this restriction does not apply if the court finds that “there is persistent and willful denial or interference with visitation, or has reason to believe that the child’s present environment may endanger the child’s physical or emotional health or impair the child’s emotional development.”
A court may modify the custody arrangement if it finds that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the parties or the child, and that modification of custody is necessary to serve the best interests of the child and that:
- Both parties agree to the modification;
- The child has been integrated into the family of the noncustodial parent with the consent of the other parent; or
- The child’s present environment endangers the child’s physical or emotional health or impairs the child’s emotional development and the harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantage of a change to the child.