Bergen County Child Custody Modification Lawyer

Life constantly changes, especially after separation and divorce. Parents routinely request modifications to their child custody orders as situations change and their children age. Whether you received an out of state job offer, remarried, or otherwise disagree with the current custodial arraignment, you may petition to modify a child custody order. Because courts dislike upsetting a child’s routine without good cause, you may need a Bergen County child custody modification lawyer.

Options for Modifying Established Child Custody Orders

Courts encourage parents sharing custody to negotiate bilateral custody modifications when circumstances change. Both custodial parents and older children could attend mediation with a qualified legal professional to draft any proposed changes for the court. In order for a singular parent to modify an established custodial arrangement on their own, the petitioning party must have a valid reason for requesting the revision.

Significant changes in circumstance could include job loss/gain, release from confinement, parental relocation, or changes in the child’s needs and desires. Parents could seek modification of their custody arrangements for reasons including:

  • A parent’s subsequent neglect or abuse of the child, mental illness, or other parental unfitness
  • Requesting special visitation for a child’s grandparents and siblings
  • A custodial parent’s subsequent criminal conviction, especially for child sex offenses
  • The death or disappearance of a custodial parent/guardian
  • Willful concealment of the child’s whereabouts, i.e., parental abduction
  • Military service orders

No matter the circumstances, courts must analyze the child’s best interest when considering a custody modification.

Special Rules for Moving Out of State

If the parents do not agree on modified custody, a child may not leave the state without a court order. This applies to children under a current New Jersey issued custody order or who resided in the state for at least six months. Courts hesitate to modify custody orders to permit out-of-state custody or visitation against an older child’s wishes.

New Jersey has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Pursuant to these provisions, state family courts may not normally modify or override child custody orders entered by another state. In addition, the party requesting the move must prove to the Court that the move is in the child’s best interest. Bergen County courts may retain full jurisdiction to modify their child custody orders even when a child moves out of state, depending on the circumstances.

Evidence Needed for Custody & Visitation Modification Hearings

Interested parties requesting modifications to child custody and visitation should submit evidence of changed circumstances. This may include proof of a new address, a job offer letter, military orders, or other evidence sufficient to support the modification. The parties may also submit a mutual modification proposal.

Provided that sufficiently changed circumstances exist, any requested custody modifications must be in the child’s best interest. Affidavits, text messages, pictures, and videos should demonstrate:

  • The child’s wishes
  • Any evidence of abuse or negligent
  • The relationship between the child, parent, and siblings
  • The extent of the child’s school and community ties
  • A child’s special or unique needs
  • Positive parental communication about the child’s needs
  • Each parents’ ability to help a child foster healthy familial relationships

Bergen County judges may appoint a legal professional to act as a child’s guardian ad litem during custody modification hearings.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Child Custody Modification Attorney

You should consider family mediation before petitioning to alter a visitation arrangement. If the parties cannot agree, discuss your case with an experienced Bergen County child custody modification lawyer.

Our experienced child and family advocates could help you work to change a current custodial arrangement. Discuss how a modification could be in your child’s best interest by calling us today.

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