For many reasons, the modification of orders involving child custody or support is not an easy task. The courts want to prevent petty disputes and emotional-driven modifications, first and foremost, and therefore there are a highly limited set of circumstances whereupon the court will agree to modify a child visitation schedule or custody order. Orders will be made by the court only when it is clearly in the best interests of the child. Reasons for modification include:
- circumstances of the parent or child have substantially changed since the custody order or
- agreement was established (ex, change in finances, change in location, change in health)
- request of a child 12 years old and over
- abuse or neglect
New York courts recognize those situations that qualify as either a material or substantial change that have a profound effect upon the original agreement, such as health or medical conditions, remarriage, job loss, criminal behavior, negligent or dangerous behavior or a change in residence. All of these reasons are acceptable to the court in petitions for a change in orders. The judge will also see children 12 and up in his or her chambers to hear their desires and reasons for requesting a change in court orders.
In cases of abuse or neglect, judges require than an affidavit be submitted to the court detailing the reasons for the allegations and all facts relevant to prove:
- that the child is in danger either by the parent or his or her environment (unsafe living conditions)
- that the modification would be in the best interests of the minor child
Naturally, these modifications work best and are most successful when the two parents work together in tandem in the best interests of their child. However, there are times when the other parent is less than willing to negotiate a change or is missing. In these cases it is always best to contact our family lawyer in NYC for assistance as the outcome of any custody or support case as a profound and significant effect on the life of your child. Whether it is a case where the opposing parent is shirking in his or her duties or you have been denied access to the child, we can help. The life and well-being of your child is of utmost importance. Being able to fully engage both parents is a requirement for children and helps create a well-balanced adult.