Change of Custody
An existing custody order can be modified by filing a motion for change of custody. The first question courts look at is whether there is an established custodial environment. Courts look at duration, parental care, love, discipline, guidance, and attention to the child’s needs. A party challenging an established custodial environment has a heavy burden of proof; first, he/she must show that there has been a change of circumstances. Second, he/she must demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence that a change of custody is in the best interests of the child. The purpose of this high burden of proof is to prevent unwarranted and disruptive changes in a child’s life.