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Can I Modify a Child Custody Agreement in New Jersey?

When a couple goes through a divorce, they are required to make arrangements for their future. If the couple has children, they must do the same for their kids. Divorce can be frightening for children, as they often wonder how often they will get to see their parents. It is because of this that a custody agreement must be established. While some couples are able to determine a custody arrangement on their own, others need the assistance of the court to make decisions for them. When these arrangements are made, they must be approved by the court. Once this occurs, they are considered the law and must be followed.

However, courts in New Jersey are aware that life goes on after a divorce. This can lead to different changes in a family’s circumstances. When this happens, the agreement that once worked for them may no longer suit their situation. It is because of this that courts allow post-judgment modifications to occur.

Child Custody Decisions

In the state of New Jersey, there are different types of custody arrangements. The type of arrangement that is made can vary depending on the family in question and what works best for their child. The main types of custody are as follows:

  • Physical Custody: Also known as residential custody, this determines the parent with whom the child lives and spends most of their time. 
  • Joint Custody: This type of custody allows parents to divide their time equally with their child.
  • Legal Custody: If a parent does not have physical custody of their child, they are still able to have an influence on the child’s upbringing. This type of custody allows parents to be involved in making important decisions for the child, such as healthcare, education, religion, and more.

When parents go to court to determine custody, the judge is required to rule in the best interest of the child. In order to assess what is best for the child, they will consider the following factors:

  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • If the parent will act in the child’s best interest
  • The child’s needs
  • The stability each parent can provide
  • The child’s safety
  • Any history of abuse
  • The preference of the child if they are old enough

Custody Modifications

When custody decisions are made, they are based on what is best for the child at the time. However, what is best for them may change over time. If this happens, the court allows modifications to be made to better suit a family’s new situation. This can simply modify visitation hours or change a custody arrangement completely. Factors that may call for a modification can include but is not limited to:

  • Parent relocation
  • Medical problems with the parent or child
  • A parent’s change in employment
  • Parent alienation

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.