One parent can ask for a change (modification) in custody or visitation or if both parents agree on the change, they can request the change together.   The modification forms are usually filed with the Probate and Family Court where the judgment/order was originally issued.

Changing a Judgment on Custody

If only one person is seeking a change to a Judgment on custody or visitation, this form must be filed:

Complaint for Modification (CJD 104) pdf format of Complaint for Modification (CJD 104)

The person filing the Complaint is the Plaintiff and the other party is the Defendant regardless of who was the Plaintiff or Defendant in the original court proceeding.  You must state the circumstances that have changed in the complaint.

Changing a Temporary Order

If only one person is seeking a change to a Temporary Order, that person should file this form:

  Motion (CJD 400) pdf format of Motion (CJD 400)
asking the judge to make the change.

  • You should also file a Proposed Order along with the Motion specifying what you would like the new Temporary Order to say.  This is a form that you create yourself.  The law libraries can provide you with some samples that can help you write your own.
  • Affidavits that support the need for the change: new facts, events, etc. that have happened since the original Order.

Check with the division where your case is to find out how to get a date for the hearing on the motion.  Each court has different procedures.  Once you know the hearing date, you must serve (notify) the other person by mailing him/her a copy of these documents as well as the time, date, and location of the hearing.  You must do this within 10 days of the hearing.

Agreement to Change a Judgment or Temporary Order

If both people agree on a substantive change to be made to a judgment or temporary order:

The procedure is outlined in the General Information Sheet called Changing a Judgment or Temporary Order by Agreement General Information (CJD 903) pdf format of Changing Judg/Temp Order by Agree Gen Info (CJD 903)
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  • Please review the information and also review the checklist of required forms (CJD 901) pdf format of Changing Judg/Temp Order by Agree Checklist (CJD 901)
  • The forms for a joint modification must be filed together with the Joint Petition as a “complete packet.”  If necessary forms are missing, it will delay action by the court.  The packet can be filed in person or by mail.

After the Packet is Filed

If all forms have been filed and the court approves the modification, both parties will receive a copy of the decision within 30 days.

If forms are missing or incorrect or the judge has questions about the new agreement, the court will notify you within 21 days that a hearing has been scheduled.  Both parties are required to attend.