When a custody agreement is entered, it is often the result of a divorce. Custody agreements will normally stand for a certain period of time, and then be up for a review after that time period is up. This time period typically lasts anywhere between a few months to a year depending on what the situation was that necessitated the agreement in the first place. If a custody agreement is the result of the divorce, the terms of custody that are drafted will be in accordance with parents' circumstances at the time of the divorce. As time goes on, however, circumstances change, and what worked for the parents at the time of the divorce will no longer work for them as time goes on. When this happens, it may be necessary to modify the custody agreement. This can be done on the custody agreement's schedule, or if something comes up, a petition for modification can be ordered. Whether the result of a divorce or the result of a prior agreement between parents who never married, modifying a custody agreement in New Jersey requires certain steps to be followed.
Modifying Custody Agreements In New Jersey
Modification of custody is a motion filed in the court to change the terms of standing custody agreement. There are a number of ways to go about this in New Jersey's courts. The quickest and easiest way to modify a custody agreement in New Jersey is for both parents to consent to an agreement. This is much easier said than done, however, some courts offer mediation services for parents trying to work out custody. On top of this, there are a number of private mediation services available if the parents wish to resolve things outside of court. If both parents can consent to the changes in custody, the agreement need only be signed by the judge and finalized.
Unfortunately, child custody is a complex and very emotional issue for the parents involved. It can be difficult to come to an agreement. when this happens, the matter must go through modification court proceedings. Your attorney will file a motion for a custody modification, and there will typically be two hearings. The first hearing may involve the judge ordering mediation, depending on the circumstances. A judge may be more likely to demand mediation if the parents have not already done so. If the mediation fails or is not necessary, the judge will make a ruling at the second hearing, after taking into account all testimony and evidence from both sides.
In all matters of child custody, the court will always rule in what the evidence shows to be in the child's "best interest." Unlike other kinds of family law cases, custody cases are not held upon by a specific burden of proof but rather what is an interpreted through facts and evidence to be better for the child, according to the judge overseeing the case. Because of this, when attempting to modify a custody order, it is of utmost importance to consult with an attorney to see what potential outcomes are, and what strategies can be used to help you get ahead in court.
If you or a loved one is currently involved in a custody battle, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.