If you have joint custody of your children but the current arrangement is no longer working, you may be able to get the custody order modified. As long as you can demonstrate a “change in circumstances,” you can file a Custody/Visitation Modification Petition in Family Court.
The same factors that influenced the original court order will affect the judge’s ruling on your petition. In other words, the requested changes must be in your children’s best interests.
As an added hurdle, you will have to show how your situation is considerably different than it was the last time you went to court over custody. Some of the most common scenarios that warrant a new arrangement include:
- One parent has developed substance use disorder;
- One parent has committed domestic violence;
- One parent’s living situation has become unstable;
- One parent has developed a debilitating medical condition;
- One parent wants to relocate out of state or far enough away that it will disrupt the existing arrangement;
- One parent has neglected or abandoned the children; and
- The children are at least 12 years old and have requested a change.
Do You Have to Go to Court to Modify a Child Custody Order?
If both parents can agree on the terms of their new arrangement, they don’t necessarily have to obtain a court order to implement it; however, while there may be advantages to bypassing the proceedings in the short term, doing so could pose a problem down the road.
Unless you have a formal arrangement in place, there’s nothing stopping your ex from violating the terms you agreed upon and reverting back to the original schedule. Should this happen, you would have no legal recourse.
As such, it’s wise to go through the court for all modifications, no matter how minor. Once a judge signs off on the new arrangement, it will be legally binding.
Does a Child Custody Order Have to Be in Place for a Certain Amount of Time Before It Can Be Modified?
Unlike some states, New York does not require parents to wait a certain amount of time after an arrangement has been ordered to file a petition for modification; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can change a custody order right away if you’re not happy with its terms.
Although there are no minimum time limits for existing orders to run out, the other requirements for modifying arrangements stand. For example, you must prove there’s been a significant shift in circumstances since the last time you went to court, regardless of whether that was one month or 10 years ago. You must also demonstrate how the requested changes are in your children’s best interests.
Call 716-855-3761 to Discuss Your Case with a New York Family Law Attorney
If you want to modify a child custody order, turn to LoTempio P.C. Law Group for guidance. When it comes to family law disputes, we understand what’s at stake, and we will tirelessly fight for the arrangement that you think is in your children’s best interests. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a consultation with a family lawyer in New York.