When a custody agreement is reached during a divorce, it is not necessarily meant to last forever. Children develop over time, meaning that their needs will change. While a custody agreement may feel set in stone, it is possible to modify parenting plans. However, there is important information you should know about modification before you begin the process. The team at Simon, O'Brien, & Knapp can help explain.
Legally Modifying Orders
In the state of New Jersey, there are two ways that you can legally modify child custody orders.
It is possible for parents to agree that a modification needs to take place. If this is the case, they can proceed with a consent order. With this route, the parents discuss the changes, and incorporate all agreed upon changes in a consent order. The consent order containing the new modified agreement is then presented to the courts for filing. If the judge approves the changes presented by the parents (only in very rare circumstances will a court not approve changes agreed to by both parents), the consent order will be entered and the prior order will be modified. It is important to remember that parents should always act in the best interests of the child when suggesting changes.
Filing a Motion
Parents will not always agree that a change needs to take place with the custody order. In these situations, the parent wanting modification can file a motion with the courts. However, you must be able to demonstrate that there has been a change in circumstances warranting a modification of the existing custody order.
Changes In Circumstances
What are changes in circumstances? The following may warrant a modification to a custody order.
- One or both parents have moved
- Educational needs have changed
- There is abuse present in the family
- One or both parents have changed employment
- The age(s) of the child(ren) dictate a change in the schedule (this is often the case when an initial order is entered when the children are young)
The above list only constitutes a few examples of potential changes in circumstances that may warrant a custody modification.
An Attorney Can Help
If you feel as though you need to modify your existing custody schedule or arrangement, an attorney can help. The team at Simon, O'Brien, & Knapp can help guide you through the process, making sure that you meet all of the requirements.
Contact us today for help with your custody modification by calling us at (973) 604-2224.