How to Change a Temporary Child Custody/Visitation Order

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Courts enter temporary custody and companion visitation orders in a number of different situations. The most common set of circumstances in which temporary orders issue from a court is during divorce or legal separation proceedings, according to "Child Custody A to Z" by Guy J. White. A procedure exists to allow you to change an existing temporary or custody or visitation order. This process is virtually the same no matter where you reside in the United States.

Step 1

Go to the clerk of the court and obtain a standard form motion to change custody or motion to change visitation, depending on the alteration you seek. The typical court clerk maintains a selection of standard form motions for use by people not represented by an attorney.

Step 2

Fill out the motion form, using the instructions accompanying the document. In a motion to change temporary custody, you must demonstrate a material change of circumstances. This means you need to present facts that maintaining the current arrangement is not in the best interests of the children. You do not need to demonstrate this type of significant change when you desire to change a visitation schedule. You need only demonstrate facts why the current arrangement is not working well.

Step 3

Sign the motion form. In some states, the execution occurs in front of a notary public. Access custody and visitation laws in your state through the website maintained by your state legislature.

Step 4

Send a copy of the motion to the other parent. Most states permit first class mail, certified mail not required.

Step 5

File the motion with the court clerk.

Step 6

Schedule a hearing, either with the court clerk or with the administrative assistant to the judge assigned your case.

Step 7

Notify the other parent of the date and time of the hearing.

Step 8

Attend the hearing and present evidence and arguments in favor of the change you desire.


  • Custody and visitation cases require an understanding of complicated laws. Consider hiring a lawyer to represent your interests in your case. The American Bar Association maintains resources to assist in finding attorneys experienced in custody law. These include contact information for state and local bar associations.



About the Author

Mike Broemmel began writing in 1982. He is an author/lecturer with two novels on the market internationally, "The Shadow Cast" and "The Miller Moth." Broemmel served on the staff of the White House Office of Media Relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science from Benedictine College and a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University. He also attended Brunel University, London.

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  • silhouetted children image by Pix by Marti from