Custody Types
There are two types of custody:

Legal custody:
determines who will make the important decisions in the child’s life such as medical treatment, education and religious instruction.

  • Sole legal custody: one parent makes those decisions.
  • Joint legal custody: both parents share the responsibility in making those decisions.

Physical custody:
determines where the child(ren) live.

  • Sole physical custody: child(ren) lives primarily with one parent.
  • Joint physical custody: child(ren) resides with each parent during specific times.

Custody Modifications
The current order (signed by the Judge) will remain in effect until a new order is prepared and signed by the Judge. When there is an objection period, the Judge will not sign a new order until the objection period is over and no one objected to the order. If an objection is filed, a hearing date will be set and a new order will be prepared, based on that hearing.

Changing custody is not an emergency process. If you believe it is an emergency, you may want to contact an attorney or explore other resources.  The Friend of the Court cannot prepare Ex-Parte orders or change an order without the parties’ consent.

If you do not have a case with FOC and you are seeking an order to change, you may wish to use the following resources to open a new case:

Once an order has been entered (signed by the judge) either party can change the order by:
Agreement (Consent): If the parties agree to change the custody order.

  • Submit a written agreement to the FOC, signed and dated by both parties.
  • Hite an attorney to prepare a "consent" order for judicial review and signature.
File a Motion: If the parties cannot agree, a motion must be filed. There are several ways to do this.
  • Utilize FOC Forms and Process:
    1. Attend FOC Orientation (2022 Schedule \ Zoom Call Instructions). The person who wishes to file a custody motion must attend orientation once during the life of their case. Then, follow the steps below.
    2. Write a brief letter to the other party, letting him/her know of the changes you want made. Sign and date the letter.
    3. Make two copies of the letter: one for FOC and one for your records.
    4. Mail or personally give the letter to the other party.
    5. Provide FOC a copy of the letter and a written request to the FOC for a custody packet
  • Utilize your own resources such as,
  • Hire an attorney to file the motion on your behalf.

In order for the court to determine custody, the factors for determining best interests of the child  will be considered. As children grow and situations change, the court order may need modification to meet the changing needs of the child.