West Caldwell Child Custody Modification Lawyer
According to the state judicial system, once a court issues an order regarding how child custody and visitation rights will be shared between two parents, the terms of that order must be followed. If your or your co-parent’s circumstances change significantly, resulting in the current custody order no longer serving your child’s interests, you may petition a court for a modification if you are unable to reach an agreement with your co-parent.
Getting through this process proactively and efficiently may be easier with guidance from an experienced West Caldwell child custody modification lawyer. A skilled child custody attorney will help you prove that your situation warrants a modification and that your child will benefit from a proposed adjustment.
How to Prove that a Child Custody Agreement Should be Modified
There are two ways to get a child custody order modified in New Jersey, one of which is far simpler and more straightforward than the other. If two parents agree that a particular change is appropriate, they can reach agreement outlining the modifications and submit a consent order to the court. In most cases, the court will accept the consent order based on the assumption that parents will act with their child’s best interests in mind.
However, if only one parent is agreeable to a modification, they may file a motion to modify the prior custody arrangement and provide documentation and evidence proving that a “substantial change in circumstances” has occurred. A change is only “substantial” in this context if it was not anticipated when the original order was issued and if it alters living or working arrangements in a way that no longer serves the child’s best interests.
What is a “Substantial” Change in Circumstances?
Depending on the circumstances, a “substantial” change could include one or both parents relocating for a new job, remarrying or cohabitating with an intimate partner, or changing shift schedules at work. In some situations, a child’s academic and/or social needs changing as they get older might be enough for a parent to file for a modification. A seasoned child custody modification attorney in West Caldwell can review a particular situation and offer guidance about modifying an agreement.
Protecting the Child’s Best Interests
Even if a parent petitioning for a custody order modification can prove that the circumstances of an agreement have changed, they must prove that their suggested modification serves their child’s interests better than the existing order to secure a new order from the court.
Courts may take various factors into consideration for different families when ruling on a modification of a child custody agreement, including:
- The age and health of the child
- The age and health of each parent
- The child’s relationships with siblings, school classmates, nearby friends and family, and community members
- How stable a proposed home environment will be
- The work responsibilities and schedules of each parent
- How well the parents can work together for their child’s benefit
- The child’s own preferences if they are old enough
With the help of a knowledgeable attorney in West Caldwell, a parent can present evidence of the need for a new child custody agreement.
Seek Help from a West Caldwell Child Custody Modification Attorney
Although it is not impossible to get a child custody order changed, the process can be challenging to get through by yourself. Even if your circumstances warrant a modification, assistance from knowledgeable legal counsel can be essential to convincing a court that a new custody arrangement benefits your entire family.
A tenacious West Caldwell child custody modification lawyer will fight on your behalf from beginning to end of your court proceedings. If you or someone you know has a question regarding modifying an existing custody order, call the Williams Law Group, at (908) 810-1083, for a confidential consultation.