Even after the ink is dry on your divorce or your initial custody order, the court can still make changes to the custody order. A custody order doesn’t end until the children reach the age of majority. The courts don’t take custody modifications lightly. Even though it takes a great deal of evidence to convince the court to modify custody, a custody modification is both necessary and important under the right circumstances. An NYC child custody modification lawyer can help you bring a motion to modify custody.
The general rule is that the courts believe that children benefit from routine and stability. In order to make large changes to the children’s custody situation, the court looks for a significant change in the circumstances surrounding the children. An example of a substantial change may be when a parent develops a substance abuse problem. A significant change in circumstances may occur when a parent or someone in the parent’s home receives a domestic violence conviction.
It’s up to the person wanting the change in custody to demonstrate the change in circumstances. The court may require you to show this proof before they hold a hearing on whether to change custody. If the court agrees that a change in circumstances has occurred, they’ll decide whether it’s in the children’s best interests to change custody.
Minor difficulties in a child’s life typically don’t qualify as a change in circumstances. For example, the court won’t likely consider a change in custody for one semester of slightly lower grades or a detention or two in school. Even minor changes in a child’s health typically aren’t enough to make big changes in a custody order.
If the court agrees that there has been a change in circumstances, the court reviews the best interests of the child. If it’s best for the child to change custody, the court orders the change. In most cases, both parents still have some type of contact with the child. However, the court may fashion a new custody and parenting time order that the court believes is best for the child. The court looks at the totality of the circumstances in order to make its determination.
New York law doesn’t explicitly define the best interests of the child. Instead, it’s up to the court to determine how to evaluate the best interests of the child. The court looks at any of the following factors:
The court doesn’t consider these factors to be a checklist. One fact or circumstance might weigh heavily to determine the outcome of the request for modification of custody. In another case, the court might look at a wide variety of evidence when making a determination regarding an NYC child custody modification petition. An NYC child custody modification lawyer can help you determine what evidence you should prepare to present to the court.
A court decides a motion to modify custody based on the evidence in front of it. That makes it up to you to determine what evidence to gather and present to the court. You must gather evidence to demonstrate that the circumstances have changed. The evidence may be a criminal conviction, copies of communication between the parties or school records. You may need to ask the court for a psychological evaluation of the other spouse. Evidence may include witness testimony. A team of experienced NYC child custody modification lawyers can help you gather the best evidence for your case.
If you believe a modification of custody may be appropriate in your case, our team of NYC child custody modification lawyers can help you determine your best steps. We can help you understand whether your motion is likely to succeed and what you can do in order to improve your case. We can help you understand the pros and cons of each way you might proceed in the case. Together, we work to help you achieve the best outcome for you, for your children and for your children’s future.
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