Can I do anything to change custody after the divorce is final?

UPDATED: Oct 12, 2010

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I do anything to change custody after the divorce is final?

My divorce was final in July of this year and I didn’t have a lawyer. I would like to have full custody of my son instead of split custody.

Asked on October 12, 2010 under Family Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Under OH Law, a Domestic Relations Court retains jurisdiction to allocate parental rights and responsibilities until the minor children reach the age of 18 years.  This means that the Court can revisit the issue of custody at any time until the child reaches the age of majority. 

When there has already been a Divorce Decree issued by the Domestic Relations Court which initially allocated the parental rights and responsibilities, any modification of the parental rights and responsibilities (i.e. custody), must be brought by a motion requesting a change.
In it, the parent that wants to change or modify custody must cite the reasons that he or she believes the earlier decision should be reconsidered.  However, the legal standard is to favor keeping the status quo.  Courts do not want to see a tug-of-war between the parents as they file motion after motion.  Yet, when appropriate, a Court will modify its earlier custody determination.  In this regard the party filing the motion must demonstrate, among other things, that there has been a change in circumstances since the prior decree or there were facts unknown to the court at the time of the initial decree.  Additionally it would have to be shown to the court that it would be in the "best interest of the child" to modify the decree.

Frankly, modifying a child custody order is difficult.  Not knowing the specifics of your case it's hard to say more other than you really need to consult directly with a family law/divorce attorney as to all of this.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption