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Changing a previous court order to a child custody case is much easier than changing a court order to a divorce. Changing a previous child custody order is as simple as waiting out your states minimum time limit to modify a court order.

Changing a divorce decree can be way more complicated and many times not granted, except for special circumstances.

To change or modify a previous child custody court order you will need to 1) wait out your states minimum waiting period to modify an order 2) make copies of the previous order you wish to modify and highlight areas that need changed 3) get a court date established through the Clerk's Office 4) make copies of the new modification order and the previous order highlighted for the judge and all parties involved 4) have all copies stamped at the clerk's office 5) mail out the parties copies 6)Keep close records between you and the ex until court.

For more information on how to make changes to a previous court order click on the link provided

Many courts will have to make the hard decision of where to place a child if the custodial parent passes, if the non-custodial has yet to go on court record and admit that they are the biological parent of said child. Another way to avoid such an obstacle is to get paternity established as soon as possible.
Basically, a parent who does not have full physical custody of said child, also has no rights to that child, if they have not made it clear to the court system that they are the biological parent. In some cases a birth certificate is sufficient, but not in every case, so check with the court house appropriate for your case to be sure.

For more information and more in depth step by step instructions get Unrepresented How to Take Your Ex to Court Without Representation.