Essex County Child Custody Modification Lawyer
Things change over time, especially for separated parents who share custody of a child they had together. If your or your child’s circumstances have changed so dramatically that your existing child custody order no longer suits your child’s needs, formally seeking a modification to this arrangement can help improve your child’s quality of life.
Assistance from an Essex County child custody modification lawyer can be crucial to getting through this process as efficiently and proactively as possible. From start to finish of your legal proceedings, a knowledgeable child custody attorney can advocate on your behalf, ensure your rights are enforced, and work diligently to secure the most favorable resolution possible to your case. Contact Moskowitz Law Group today to discuss your unique situation.
Procedures for Modifying a Child Custody Order
Seeking a modification of a child custody order in New Jersey can work differently depending on whether both parents agree that a modification is appropriate. If both parties are on the same page about needing a modification and how they want to change their existing order, they can jointly seek a consent order from the court to put their preferred modification in place. In such instances, the court will generally grant the change, unless the arrangement blatantly goes against the child’s best interests. A consent order is simply a written agreement that the parties send to the court for the judge’s signature. It then becomes enforceable, just like the prior order or agreement.
If only one parent desires a modification, they must file a motion for modification based on a “substantial change in circumstances that impact the welfare of the child.” Notably, “substantial” in this context is defined not by how much the change affects either parent’s life, but rather by how it affects the child’s life. Possible grounds for a modification that may meet this standard include:
- One or both parents moving
- Special educational opportunities or needs for the child
- One or both parents remarrying or cohabitating with an intimate partner
- Changes in work schedule or employment
- Physical, emotional, and/or alcohol or drug abuse by one parent
- Chronic failure to comply with an existing custody order
- Any change in the child’s needs as they age
An Essex County family law attorney can go into more detail about possible justifications for a child visitation modification during a private consultation.
Important Factors When Altering a Child Custody Order
Even if a substantial change in circumstances demonstrably occurred, a court will only approve a petitioning parent’s request for modification if they can prove the change serves the child’s best interests. The proposed change must be significantly better than the current situation to be considered by the court.
Depending on the situation, courts may also prioritize different factors when determining what would truly best serve a child’s interests. These factors can range from how stable a proposed home environment would be to existing social and/or community bonds, to even the child’s personal preferences if they are old enough. A family law attorney in Essex County can offer further guidance about what a court might take into consideration during a modification hearing.
Seek Help from an Essex County Child Custody Modification Attorney Today
Getting the terms of a child custody order changed may be vital in preserving your child’s best interests and your relationship with them. However, convincing a court to sign off on a proposed modification can be difficult, especially without the guidance of seasoned legal counsel.
A qualified Essex County child custody modification lawyer can provide the tailored support you need to achieve the most favorable outcome possible for your case. Call Moskowitz Law Group today to schedule a meeting.