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How Can I Modify my Child Custody Agreement in New Jersey?

Divorce has many parts to it that must be settled before the marriage is officially over. For parents, this includes child custody agreements. When custody is determined, both parents are required to abide by it or they can face certain consequences from the court. While this is true, life changes overtime and a family’s custody agreement may no longer work for them. The court understands this and allows for modifications to be made so that the arrangement can better suit their circumstances. Continue reading below to learn more about how this can be done.

When Can I Modify Custody Arrangements?

When a parent wants to modify their custody agreement, they must petition the court to receive approval. They cannot simply change the agreement on their own. To receive the modification, parents must prove there is a reason that calls for it. Acceptable reasons can include:

  • The child’s best interests. If a child is unhappy or their living situation no longer works for them, a modification may be granted.
  • The child is in danger. If a parent feels the co-parent may put the child in danger or there is suspicion of abuse/neglect, they can ask for a modification.
  • Relocation. If a parent needs to move and wants to bring their child with them, they can ask for a change in their custody agreement.
  • 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, a modification may be approved.
  • One parent is not cooperating. If parents have joint custody but one of them does not follow the agreement, the other parent may request a change in 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?

In order to modify a custody agreement, a parent can begin simply by discussing the matter with their co-parent. If the parents can work together, they may be able to reach conclusions regarding changes through independent negotiations or guided meditation. However, while this is true, they are still required to file a modification petition to have it approved by a judge.

When parents cannot agree regarding changes in custody agreements, a petition for modification can be filed with the court to begin the process of approval. During this time, the parent must prove to the judge that a modification is necessary for the best interest of the child. The judge can then evaluate the case and create a new custody order if they approve the motion.

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