Even when both parents agreed at the outset, the reality is that child custody orders in Massachusetts are subject to be changed. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since the flexibility gives judges and parents the opportunity to make adjustments when a child's situation changes.
However, custody modifications do not just happen in Massachusetts because one parent wants a change. In fact, even if parents agree to make changes in their parenting plan, they still must submit those changes to the court for approval. The court will have to verify that these agreed changes really are in the child's best interests.
When parents do not agree, the parent wanting a change will have to ask the court that is overseeing the case. In order for the court to grant permission, the parent wanting the change will have to demonstrate that something significant has changed about the child's or the parents' situations.
Moreover, the parent will also have to show that the current parenting plan is no longer able to serve the child's best interests.
Although there is no set list of reasons that justify a change to a custody order, some examples might include when a parent changes jobs or moves. If a parent develops an addiction or starts suffering under a mental health issue, that may also require a change in the couple's parenting plan.
There may arise times in which a Springfield parent will want to strongly consider asking for a change of custody or even some other modification to their existing parenting plan. However, actually requesting the change and then proving one's case can be a complicated affair, even when one has very good reasons for their actions. This is one of many reasons why many Massachusetts parents choose to get professional legal help from an experienced Massachusetts family lawyer before pursuing a custody modification.