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Can I Modify My Child Custody Arrangement in New Jersey?

Once two people choose to untangle their lives together, a lot of big changes may follow. For example, you or your ex-spouse may choose to move out of state, or go down a completely different career path. Your circumstances may change dramatically, and if children are involved, these changes can greatly affect them. Child custody is one of the most difficult topics to determine in a divorce. When it comes to custody, it is important to do what is in the child’s best interest. But, nothing is set in stone, so what is best for a child is subject to change. As a result, it may become necessary to modify a previously established custody agreement. Read on to learn more about how to modify a child custody arrangement in New Jersey.

Reasons to Modify Custody Agreement?

Lots of events may occur that would cause a couple to modify a custody arrangement. Some of these changes include:

  • A major change in employment terms, such as required work hours.
  • A major change in a parent’s habits or lifestyle which may affect the child, such as drug abuse.
  • Major changes in a parent’s health such as mental/physical illness.
  • Major relocation of one parent

In these cases, it may be beneficial or even necessary to alter your custody agreement. It is important to note that your original child custody agreement was created to best suit the needs of your child. Additionally, a change in custody can be difficult for your child, seeing as it can interrupt their schedules and routines. For this reason, you must be able to show that a substantial change has occurred since the creation of the original agreement, and changes to your custody arrangement are needed.

Ways to Modify Custody Agreement?

In New Jersey, there are two ways to alter a previously established custody agreement:

  • Consented order
    • You and your ex-spouse can create and sign a document stating that you desire to modify your custody arrangement in terms of child support, visitation rights, etc.
  • Modification order
    • If you find that you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on a modification, you can file a motion with the courts to review your case and modify your existing child custody agreement. To do this, you must be able to prove that circumstances since your divorce have substantially changed and your custody agreement needs to be modified to account for these changes.

We understand that circumstances change and we want to help you do what is best for your family. If you would like to modify your child custody arrangement, do not hesitate to reach out to our firm for help.


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