Child Custody Modifications

Child Custody Modifications

Child Custody Modification Attorneys in Bergen County, NJ

When Can a Child Custody Modification Agreement Be Modified?

When parents divorce or dissolve a domestic partnership, they must decide on a child custody and visitation agreement. This agreement will address everything from which parent(s) have the legal authority to make decisions for their children regarding health, education, and religion, how much time each parent will spend with the children, and when.

However, many times the circumstances of one or both parents can change after the initial child custody agreement is created. Maybe a new job changes how much time they have to spend with their children, or maybe they wish to relocate in order to pursue a new opportunity or to be with a new spouse. Or maybe the needs or preferences of the children themselves call for a modification to the existing child custody and visitation agreement.

Whatever the reason, when it comes to legally securing the child custody modification that makes the most sense for you and your children, the experienced family law attorneys of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark are ready to guide and advise you through the entire process, and help you represent your family’s unique situation, needs, and concerns to a court of law.

Having already represented many parents and families in child custody modification matters in towns across Bergen County, including Teaneck, Fort Lee, Ridgewood, and Hackensack, our firm is ready to put our legal knowledge and effective and compassionate service to work for you today.

Contact our firm to discuss your child custody agreement, or a modification to your child custody agreement, in a free and confidential consultation today.

When Can I Modify My Child Custody Agreement?

As previously noted, a child custody agreement is modifiable, should certain circumstances change substantially and permanently. Additionally, it is important to remember that a child custody modification can change the parenting time schedule between the parents, the legal custody of the children for either parent. While there is no definitive list of acceptable “changed circumstances” which can warrant a child custody modification, some of the most common scenarios in which one parent or the other pursues a child custody modification is when:

  • One parent’s schedule changes significantly due to new work responsibilities or the pursuit of further education
  • One parent wishes to relocate out-of-state, or roughly 100 miles away within the state of New Jersey
  • One parent’s lifestyle changes significantly, for example, the abuse of drugs or alcohol.
  • There is a threat of domestic violence or abuse which poses a safety risk to the children or a parent

If any of these circumstances (or any other factor that changes your family’s circumstances substantially) applies to you and your family, you may wish to pursue a modification of your child custody agreement. This can be done in one of two ways, though regardless which you pick, it is highly recommended that you first speak with our experienced Bergen County child custody modification attorneys in order to gain a better understanding of your options, next steps, and potential outcomes.

Child Custody Modification Consent

Should your family’s circumstances warrant a change to your child custody agreement, there are two possible ways to secure that change:

The first is through both you and your co-parent signing a written “Consent Order.” This consent order will contain the exact modifications to your child custody agreement that both you and your co-parent wish to modify, and give you and your co-parent’s express legal consent to these changes. Of course, before any such changes can be legally approved, the court will need to ensure that your children’s best interests are properly taken into account.

Even though modifying your child custody agreement through a consent order is often a much less time-consuming process than filing a motion for modification with the courts, it is still important to retain experienced legal counsel during this process. Our child custody modification attorneys can help ensure that any proposed changes are fair to you as a parent, and accurately reflect your children’s best interests.

If you and your co-parent cannot agree to a child custody modification on your own through a consent order, you may file a motion with the courts requesting a change to your child custody agreement. Such a motion will require you to demonstrate sufficient changed circumstances (as outlined in the section above), and if a court feels those circumstances are enough to warrant a child custody modification, they will seek to find a solution that places the children’s best interest above all other considerations.

For example, though relocation is a sufficient reason to request a child custody modification, it may not necessarily work in that parent’s favor. In this situation, the courts will grant primary custody to the parent, and home, they believe can best protect the children’s best interests.

Whether you are pursuing a child custody modification through a Consent Order, or through a court petition, our firm can help assess your unique situation, and represent and protect your individual needs and interests as a concerned parent.

Contact Our Hackensack Child Custody, Parenting Time, and Visitation Attorneys Today

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience successfully resolving child custody and child custody modification issues. By practicing exclusively family and divorce law, our firm can focus on providing you with the knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate legal counsel that you need and deserve in matters so important to you and your family. We believe that by working closely with each client, and keeping them highly informed and involved throughout the legal process, we can better understand the resolutions that work best for our clients, and work towards securing those exact resolutions. To speak with our family law team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your child custody agreement, or a modification to that agreement, contact our office.

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