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Modifying Child Custody Orders in New York

Child custody is one of the most important components of divorce. Your child custody agreement will determine if your child will live with you, or if you can make decisions on their behalf.

It is likely that your child custody order will need to be changed as time goes on. What are some of the most common reasons parents seek a child custody modification? What will a Judge consider while making their decision?

There are many reasons why you can petition the court for a modification of child custody. A few of the most cited reasons for a modification include:

  • Relocation after divorce
  • Changes to either parent’s lifestyle (finances, health, etc.)
  • Allegations of child abuse or neglect
  • The desires of the child

You must prove that there has been a significant change in circumstance, regardless of why you want to modify your Order.  For instance, a new job in another state, access to critical health care, or unsafe living conditions all constitute a significant change in circumstance.

Contrary to popular belief, the courts do not favor mothers over fathers in child custody proceedings. The same rings true for modification requests. A Judge must rule in the child’s best interest when deciding if they should grant a request to modify a child custody order.

Some of the factors that help determine the child’s best interest are:

  • Which parent has been the primary caregiver
  • The parenting skills of each parent, their ability to provide for the child, and their lifestyle
  • The child’s relationship with siblings and extended family members
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence

Each child custody modification case is different, and no two rulings will be alike. These best interest factors are merely a guide for Judges. Discuss your case with an attorney prior to filing your petition.

You must file a Petition for Modification in order to start a new child custody case. Your petition will be denied if you fail to provide enough evidence that a significant change of circumstance has occurred.

The Court will issue a Summons with Petition for Modification when your request is granted. As with any other legal action, you need to have the other parent served with the Summons. Your Summons will have a court date listed, and you and your ex will need to appear in front of a Judge.

During your modification trial, a Judge will hear testimony and review evidence. After which, they will decide whether or not to grant your request.  The Judge will issue a new child custody order if your Petition is approved. Keep in mind: your current visitation and child support agreements might change if your custody order is modified.

Child custody modification cases are very complicated. You do not want to file your petition without speaking to an attorney first. You are taking the first steps when you hire an experienced family law attorney.

The team of lawyers Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. have represented thousands of New Yorkers in sensitive divorce and family law matters. For more information on child custody modifications, contact the firm at 718-875-7584 today!

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