If your divorce occurred several years ago, chances are that your current situation is much different from when you first got divorced. You might have gotten remarried, you may have a different employment situation, and you may have even moved to a different town or state. Whatever your situation, your child custody arrangement might not be convenient any longer, and you could be hoping to change it. Under what circumstances will a family court in New Jersey consider modifying a custody order in light of new circumstances?
The best interest of the child standard
There are several factors that the court will take into account when determining if a modification is necessary. The primary factor that the court will prioritize is the best interest of the child. In other words, your odds of getting a modification will largely depend upon your ability to demonstrate that your proposed modification is not just for your own convenience, but is actually the best thing for your child’s wellbeing.
The process for filing for a modification
Unless you, your ex-spouse, and your children have all moved out of New Jersey, the court that established your original custody arrangement has continuing exclusive jurisdiction over your child custody case. This means that you must file for a modification in that court, because other courts will lack the jurisdiction to make the modification.
If you and your ex-spouse can agree on a modification, you can submit it to the court for approval. The court will approve your agreed-upon plan if it does not interfere with the child’s wellbeing and best interest. If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on a modification, then your attorney may have to begin a legal action to bring the matter before a judge.
Your life, and the life of your ex-spouse, can change drastically after a divorce. With a child custody modification, you may be able to adjust your custody situation to fit your current circumstances, so that your child can continue to have a healthy relationship with both of you.