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When should child custody orders be modified?

| Jun 15, 2021 | Child Custody

Child custody is a difficult topic for many Suffolk County parents who have gone through the divorce process. It can be heart-wrenching for a parent to recognize a future in which one’s children may not permanently live in their home. However, courts throughout the state of New York are committed to crafting child custody determinations that meet the unique interests of the children who is custody matters appear before them. Parents and their dedicated family law and divorce attorneys can present their custody arguments during courtroom hearings.

Once a child custody order is issued, parents must do their best to meet its terms. Over time, however, changes in the circumstances of the parents’ and children’s lives may warrant seeking modifications to their order. This post will discuss circumstances which may require child custody modifications, but readers are encouraged to speak with family law lawyers about their individual custody cases. This post does not provide any legal advice.

What is a modification?

A modification is a change to an existing legal order. When it comes to child custody, a modification may alter what parental rights the parents share or the schedule on which the parents share time with their children. Child custody modifications must serve a purpose that supports the best interests of the child or children affected by the changes. It is generally advisable for parents to have their orders judicially modified rather than coming to informal terms based on their own agreements. Judicially modified orders carry with them enforcement provisions that can be used if a parent fails to follow the new terms.

Why do some families seek child custody modifications?

The reasons that families seek to modify their child custody orders can vary. In some cases, a parent with custody may find that they must move for their job or other commitments. When this happens, they may need to seek a modification to their custody order so that they can continue to share their child with their co-parent. Similarly, when a child’s educational, medical, or social commitments change, they may be better served through altering the schedule on which they spend time with their parents.

In some unfortunate cases, a parent with custody may be unable to maintain their responsibilities to their children. When this happens, there co-parent and may seek to modify their child custody order to take a greater role in the life of their shared children. These are only some of the reasons that families may seek to modify their existing child custody orders.

Modifying a child custody order can take time. Not all parents are comfortable or confident taking on the process alone. They can choose to work with dedicated family law and divorce lawyers to support their legal needs and help them advocate for the best interests of their children.