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Can you modify your child custody arrangements?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2024 | Child Custody

New Jersey family judges generally feel that having a close relationship with both parents tends to be in a child’s best interests. Therefore, when determining custody arrangements, the courts usually try to ensure that both parents have quality time with their children.

However, circumstances change over time, which sometimes requires modification of child custody arrangements in, possibly in significant favor of one parent over the other.

Modifying child custody arrangements: The basics

Most of the time, co-parents can opt to modify their existing arrangements as long as they both agree on the proposed changes and the court agrees that the alterations in question are in the child’s best interests.

In the event that one parent wants a modification and the other doesn’t, the parent pushing for an alteration can ask the courts to step in. The court will whether significant changes in circumstances could affect the child’s welfare, and warrant a modification as a result. Common reasons that modifications are made include:

  • The child’s needs changing due to age
  • A change in the parents’ work schedules
  • Relocation of one parent
  • Concern about the child’s safety or well-being

A parent seeking the change must demonstrate to the court that a significant change has occurred since the last order was issued and that a modification would be in the child’s best interest.

They must file a motion with the court issuing the original custody order or parenting plan. The motion should explain the change in circumstances and why a modification is necessary. After the motion has been filed, a court hearing will be scheduled to allow both parents to present their case. Afterward, the court will consider all relevant factors before deciding whether a modification is in the child’s best interest.

Modifying a child custody agreement is a legal process that requires a thorough understanding of New Jersey’s family court system. Therefore, it’s important to seek legal guidance in order to make informed decisions if you’re facing a modification scenario at this time.