When you get divorced, custody of your children is the most significant decision you must make for the future of your family. Courts prefer when parents can work together on a plan for raising their children, but that is not always possible. Moreover, once these agreements are in place, they may need to be modified for a variety of reasons.
Custody will be an issue until your child turns 18 years old, leaving a lot of time for lives to change. Our team of Short Hills child custody modification lawyers has knowledge in this area, and we are ready to assist you when things change.
We know that courts take matters involving children very seriously, and we can help you build a case for a change in custody or one in opposition of the request from your co-parent. Your child’s security is of the utmost importance to our compassionate attorneys.
The standard of review for all cases involving custody is the best interests of the child. In a request for modification, the court may examine the reasons for the original decision and review the same factors when deciding whether to modify custody.
Under the law, N.J.S.A. 9:2-4(c), these factors for evaluating parenting could include analyzing:
When one parent requests a modification of custody in Short Hills, they must prove a “substantial change in circumstances”. A parent opposing this modification must show that the change in circumstances may harm the child and is not in their best interests. Legal counsel experienced in child custody modification knows what kind of evidence is necessary to support or oppose such requests.
In the case for a request to modify custody arrangements, one parent might start displaying conduct or making choices that endanger the welfare of the child. For instance, if a parent develops a substance abuse problem, a mental illness that affects capacity, or acts violently, they could be considered unfit to have custody of a child. The standard for proving a parent is unfit is high but Short Hills courts will not hesitate to step in to protect child if it is proven that a parent cannot take good care of them.
There are several common kinds of substantial changes in circumstance that the requesting party could use to demonstrate a necessity for child custody modification. As an example, if a parent moves and lives farther away from the other parent, it may be challenging to maintain the original arrangement. Perhaps a child starts to fail in school and needs another district or special schooling. If a child is just beginning school, and the court entered an order before that time, a parent could want to change custody for educational purposes.
Sometimes parents are routinely non-compliant in custody obligations, and if this happens consistently enough, a court may consider that behavior enough to warrant a modification of the original custody order. Or, as children age, they may express a preference for living with one parent or the other. Generally, a Short Hills court will consider the preferences of a child over the age of 14 and modify custody accordingly.
Finally, as families grow, a parent could introduce another person into the dynamic. If the other parent can prove that a new relationship or person is harming the child, a modification of child custody might be appropriate. A legal representative with could help prepare the appropriate evidence to support or oppose a motion based on substantial change in circumstances.
Difficulty with custody can cause you stress and anxiety. You may have reasons to want to change the arrangements, or you might be happy with things the way they are and need help opposing a request for modification.
In either case, our Short Hills child custody modification lawyers understand how much is at stake for you and your family. We are here to support you with years of experience and advocate for you and your children.