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When can you modify child custody and visitation?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2023 | Divorce

As all parents know, children grow up quickly. Indeed, if much time has passed since your custody order, your kids might be into vastly different activities. As a result, your current custody arrangement or visitation schedule may not fit the needs of anyone in your family.

According to Georgia law, either co-parent may ask a court to revisit the custody order or visitation schedule once every two years following the initial order. There are different rules that apply to custody and visitation, however.

Changing child custody

Your existing child custody order governs each co-parent’s legal custody rights. These rights include the ability to make legal, educational and other decisions for your children.

According to, if you want a court to revisit your custody order, there must be a material change in circumstances. This change must affect the well-being of the kids. Among others, the following changes in circumstances might qualify:

  • A parent’s intention to relocate for a new job opportunity
  • A parent’s remarriage
  • A parent’s use of drugs or alcohol
  • A parent’s history of abuse or criminal activity

When evaluating whether a modification to an existing custody order is appropriate, judges must consider the best interests of the involved children.

Changing parenting time or visitation

Visitation, sometimes called parenting time, is the time each parent spends with the kids. Unlike modification requests for custody orders, you do not need to show a material change in circumstances to seek a change in parenting time. You do have to comply with the two-year request interval, however.

Ultimately, if you need to rework visitation or custody, paying close attention to the legal requirements is sure to improve your chances of securing the outcome you want.