When your divorce was finalized, you may have assumed that the child custody and visitation order in place would last until the child turned 18. However, life is always changing, and at some point, before your child’s 18th birthday, you may find that your original agreement no longer works for you and your family. In such cases, you may file a custody/visitation modification petition with a New York family court to modify your current child custody and/or visitation order.
What circumstances warrant a modification?
Generally, the court will not grant a modification unless there is a substantial change in circumstances that occurred after the date of the original order and the current agreement no longer serves the child’s best interest. Many life circumstances warrant a modification of a custody/visitation order. Common reasons to modify a custody order may include:
- Change in custodial parent’s job, work hours, and/or income or parental job loss
- Custodial parent’s desire to relocate with the child
- Parent’s home environment has become unstable
- Parent has developed a problem with drugs and/or alcohol
- Parent has developed a physical and/or mental health condition
- Parent is preventing visitation with the other parent
- Evidence of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment
The court may also grant a modification that is requested by a child who is 12 years old or older.
If you are seeking a custody/visitation modification, it can be helpful to contact a family law attorney specializing in child custody and parenting time. Your attorney can also assist you if you are opposing a modification request filed by your child’s other parent.