Disputes regarding child custody tend to be very contentious and emotional for everyone involved. While in an ideal world, child custody issues should be mutually agreed on by parents without the difficulty of litigation, this is often not the case. Even though custodial arrangements may have been agreeable at one time, parents may experience a change in circumstances that results in the need for modification.
Asking a court to grant a change of custody can be a complicated and drawn-out process. You need an experienced family law attorney by your side who has a compassionate and objective grasp of the issues in your case to fully explore all of your legal options with you. If you are facing a child custody issue, call an experienced child custody lawyer at Bhatt Law Group at (201) 798-8000 for a free consultation.
Substantial Change in Circumstances
To request a modification of custody or visitation arrangements, a parent has to show the court that there is a substantial change in circumstances that affects the child’s welfare. Additionally, the parent has to prove that modification would serve the best interests of the child. In making this determination for the child’s best interests, the court looks at many factors, including:
- Parental relocation to new geographic area
- Employment change
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Evidence of neglect or abuse
- Health of parents and other adults involved in care
- Change in living arrangement
- Ability of parents to care for the child
The court will consider whether these factors may substantially disrupt the stability of the life of the child. If circumstances threaten the safety and health of the child, custody is more likely to be altered.
Process for Modification
To request a change of custody or visitation arrangements, a parent must first file a motion with the court. The court may then try to facilitate a resolution to see if the parents can reach an agreement. It is important to remember that under New Jersey law the court has to consider the need for both parents to have frequent and continuing contact with the child unless that is contrary to the child’s best interests. If the parents can’t reach an agreement, then the court will schedule a hearing and consider evidence regarding the motion for modification.
Contact an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer
Bhatt Law Group can help you every step of the way in matters relating to the modification of custody or visitation agreements. We have decades of combined experience in helping people throughout New Jersey with the sensitive and critical issues surrounding custody disputes. Speak with one of our family law attorneys by calling (201) 798-8000 for a free consultation so we can discuss the unique facts and circumstances of your case.