Help with Changing Custody (Modification of Child Custody)
If you’re a New Jersey parent who is seeking or defending against a change to your child’s custody arrangement, you need skilled legal support for your best chance at success. Contact the Englewood family law attorneys at Herbert & Weiss for a consultation if you are facing a change in child custody in New Jersey.
Changes in custody infrequent
Determining how you share custody with a co-parent or former spouse can be one of the most contentious facets of a split. Parents want the assurance that their child is being raised with the love and attention needed in a safe and stable home, and that they will have regular opportunities to spend extended periods of time with their child. Battles over determining custody can take many months to complete. Once resolved, New Jersey courts are reluctant to alter custodial arrangements.
Circumstances often change, however, in the months or years after courts settle the issue of custody. For example, one parent may learn troubling new information about their co-parent’s lifestyle or approach to childrearing, giving rise to doubts about whether the child is safe in that person’s custody. In other cases, work or a new spouse may lead a parent to move out of state, with the relocating parent seeking to bring their child with them to their new home.
When will New Jersey courts change a child custody agreement?
New Jersey family judges making decisions about child custody base their decisions on what they believe to be in the best interests of the child. One factor that courts value heavily when determining child custody is stability. Courts are reluctant to change custodial arrangements, both because changes can undermine the child’s sense of stability and because of the drain of repeated legal actions on the court system.
As a result, a parent seeking a change in custody must file a motion with the court and show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that justifies a change to the existing custody agreement. The experienced family law attorneys at Herbert & Weiss can help you prove your claim before the Family Part judge when custody is in dispute.
Courts have found that a substantial change in circumstances existed where:
- A parent’s work schedule changed, making them unable to provide care for their child
- The child begins school, or needs to change schools
- The child has special needs requiring care or treatment that one parent is uniquely able to provide
- One or both of the parents has moved away from the other, making it impossible to maintain the existing custodial schedule
- There are signs of child abuse
- One parent develops a substance problem
- A parent’s new romantic partner has created an unsafe or unstable living environment for the child
Experienced Legal Help for Change in Child Custody Cases
If you need skilled, experienced, and compassionate help with a custody dispute in New Jersey, or other family law matters, contact the seasoned Englewood child custody lawyers Herbert & Weiss at 201-440-6300.