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When can parents modify a New York custody order?

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2023 | Family Law |

The terms outlined in a New York custody order have a profound impact on the family subject to the order. A custody order likely includes a specific breakdown of parenting time and decision-making responsibility for the adults. The terms of the custody order influence everything from the relationships in the family to the amount of child support someone needs to pay.

The final terms of a custody order often require concessions from both parents. They will generally have to accept reduced time with the children and an obligation to communicate regularly with their child’s other parent. Making a change to a custody order requires a formal modification reviewed by the courts. When can someone dissatisfied with the terms of a New York custody order potentially go back to court for a modification?

When parents agree to certain changes

The parents in a family tend to better understand than anyone else what their children need and the challenges of the current family schedule. If the parents agree that there is a need to change the division of parenting time or decision-making responsibility, they can cooperate to request an uncontested modification at almost any point.

When there has been a significant change in circumstances

When parents do not agree about the need for a custody modification, they may need to take the matter back to family court. During contested custody modifications, judges look over the same details that they would review when creating an initial custody order.

They look at family circumstances and attempt to establish what they believe would be in the best interests of the children. If a parent previously limited to visits and with no overnight parenting time improves their circumstances and asks for more time, a judge would often act under the assumption that increasing their access would be in the best interests of the children.

Other times, parents may need to reduce the access one parent has because they have proven to be volatile or dangerous while parenting. Any major change in relationships, schedules or circumstances may warrant a change in custody terms.

Those pursuing contested custody modifications may have a better chance of achieving success when they have documentation supporting their claims, such as records of missed visits, copies of medical records and other corroborating evidence. Demonstrating that circumstances have changed may help parents seeking custody modifications move forward with updates that will be beneficial for the children and potentially for everyone else in the family as well.