Child custody determinations can be modified upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances from the time the previous custody order was entered. What a court considers to be a substantial change in circumstances depends on the circumstances of each case. Ultimately, a court will consider a variety of factors to determine if the custody determination should be modified.
What needs to be shown to modify a child custody order?
The party requesting modification of a child custody order has the burden to prove a substantial change in circumstances. This change must be some fact or set of facts that has arisen since the time the original child custody order was entered. Some examples of facts that may constitute a substantial change in circumstances include:
- Relocation of one of the parents
- Special needs of the children
- Criminal activity from one of the parents
- Substance abuse
- Change in employment or financial situation
- Domestic violence
- Mental instability
- Child abuse or neglect
What a court considers to be a change in circumstances can be very broad. If you believe there are circumstances that may constitute a change in circumstances, then you should consult with NYC Child Custody Modification Lawyers who can assess your situation and help you determine whether a modification action is an option.
If a change in circumstances is shown, will a court automatically award the modification?
Even if a substantial change in circumstances is shown, the party requesting modification must also show that the modification serves the best interest of the children. In analyzing whether a modification is in the best interest of the children, the court considers several factors. These factors may include:
- Wishes of the parents as to custody
- Wishes of the children (if they are mature enough to state their wishes)
- Character and circumstances of the persons involved
- Need to promote stability and continuity
- Domestic violence issues, if any
- Any other factor that the courts deems as relevant
If you can show a change in circumstances and that the requested modification is in the best interest of the children, then the court may modify the child custody schedule.
What is the process for child custody modification?
To modify a child custody order, the party requesting modification must file a request with the court. This request must set forth the facts that constitute a substantial change in circumstances and must also set forth the custody schedule being requested.
After the written request is filed with the court, it must be served on the other parent. The other parent then has an opportunity to file a response to the request, stating what they agree and disagree with regard to the requested modification.
If the parents can agree on the modification, then the requested change can be entered into an order. If the parties cannot agree, then the parties may pursue other methods to facilitate resolution, such as mediation and settlement meetings. Ultimately, if the parents cannot agree, then the case proceeds to trial. At trial, each parent has the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence in support of their argument. A judge will then make a decision and announce the custody schedule.
What evidence can be considered in a child custody modification case?
In a child custody modification case, the court can consider any relevant evidence, which may include:
- Testimony from witnesses
- Video and audio recordings
- Social media posts
- Text messages, emails and letters
- Reports from police and social services
- Opinions from child custody evaluators and experts
How can an attorney help?
NYC Child Custody Modification Lawyers cab assist by providing legal representation and advice during a modification action. An experienced child custody lawyer will understand what needs to be shown to successfully modify a child custody order. They will advocate for their client’s position and present the evidence in support of the case to the court.
A child custody modification lawyer will understand the laws and procedures that apply to the case. Some people unsuccessfully try to seek modification without the assistance of an attorney and become overwhelmed by the various rules and procedures.
If you are seeking modification of child custody order, contact us to schedule a consultation.