Can I Modify my Child Custody Agreement in New Jersey?

There are many different aspects of a divorce that must be handled before the marriage can be dissolved. For parents, one of the most important of these is child custody. Once a child custody arrangement is settled, it is required to be followed by both parents or it can be enforced by the court. While this is true, the court also recognizes that family circumstances can change overtime. When they do, their custody situation may no longer be what they need. It is because of this that a modification may be granted if it is necessary. Continue reading below to learn more about this process.

When Can I Modify Custody Arrangements?

When a parent wants to modify their custody arrangement, they cannot do so on their own. Instead, they need the approval of the court. This may be possible by proving that there is a reason that calls for a modification to be granted, such as the following:

  • The child’s best interests: if a child is unhappy or their current living situation no longer works for them.
  • The child is in danger: if a parent feels the co-parent may put the child in danger or there is evidence of abuse/neglect, they can file a petition to modify the custody arrangement.
  • Relocation: if a parent needs to move, they may ask for a modification so that they can bring their child with them.
  • A parent cannot meet the needs of their child: if a parent’s life circumstances make it harder to support their child the way they need. 
  • One parent is not cooperating: if parents have joint custody but one of them does not follow the agreement. 
  • One parent passes away: if a parent dies and the other parent does not want a new spouse to raise their child, they can pursue full custody. 

How is Custody Modified?

When looking to change a custody arrangement, a parent should begin by first discussing the matter with their co-parent. If they are able to work together, the parents may be able to negotiate the custody situation in order to see where changes can be made. This can be done on their own or with the assistance of a mediator. It is important to note that, even in these situations, a modification petition must still be filed and approved by a judge.

If parents are unable to reach agreements with one another, the parent who wants a modification can file a petition with the court. When a court date is received, they can work to prove to the judge the necessity of a modification. The judge can evaluate the circumstances to determine if the change is necessary. If approved, they can create a new custody order based on what is best for the child.

Contact our Firm

We understand that those getting a divorce most likely have several questions regarding the weeks and months to come. Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC is honored to serve the people of New Jersey, including Sparta, Sussex County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Bergen County with the quality legal services they deserve. If you are getting a divorce or have any other questions regarding divorce-related matters, please do not hesitate to contact our firm for a consultation today.