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Modifying Child Custody Agreements in New York

Modifying Child Custody Agreements in New York

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When Can You Modify Child Custody and Visitation Orders?

During the divorce process protecting children is often one of the most important factors parents keep in mind. Moreso, a separation can have a significant impact on the rest of a child’s life, which is why courts focus custody matters in the views of the child’s best interests.

However, life inevitably changes, but know that you have options to adjust your divorce or separation agreement. If your current agreement is no longer working and a change is in your child’s best interest, you may be able to petition the court for a modification. We at Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law are here to explain how parents may go about modifying their child custody and visitation orders.

Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody

Child custody is not a matter to be taken lightly, and neither are modifications. New York allows for the modification of child custody and visitation if the parent seeking the petition can show the following:

  • There’s been a substantial change in circumstances of the parent or the child since the custody agreement was established
  • The child requesting the modification is at least 12 years of age
  • There was abuse, neglect, or abandonment
  • There has been a 15% increase or decrease in a parent’s income since the original order (this only applies to orders made on or after October 13, 2010)
  • It has been three years since the order was issued (this only applies to orders made on or after October 13, 2010)

Courts will not grant your request for a change in custody or visitation unless you justify it with one of the reasons above. In most cases, you may need to provide evidence and prove to the judge that there has been a significant change. With the right attorney on your side, you will be able to present the correct documentation that demonstrates your legitimate concerns for filing a petition.

Common reasons why parents seek a modification of custody and visitation include:

  • New living arrangements
  • Financial changes (IE: unemployment or a significant increase in income)
  • One parent is battling a substance abuse problem
  • One parent has committed acts of domestic violence
  • One parent remarries
  • One parent is convicted of criminal acts
  • The custodial parent frequently fails visitation orders with the other parent

How To Modify Custody and Visitation Orders

The best way to begin this process is by working together with the other parent. There are many circumstances in which ex-spouses may agree to modify orders consensually and set the terms on their own. Once the parents have come up with a written agreement, they must have it accepted by a judge.

Not all parents are willing to negotiate a change, but this shouldn’t stop you from pursuing a modification if it’s in the best interests of your child. In these situations, retaining an experienced attorney is essential. All family law matters are highly complex, but modifications should be handled, especially carefully. It involves processes that dictate your child’s future, and you don’t want to get an adjustment approved that you may regret down the road.

We’re Available to Help

At Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law, we understand how frustrating it can be if your original divorce agreement no longer fits your current circumstances. If you’re looking to file a modification to your child custody or visitation orders, our firm is here to help. By working with our skilled legal team, we can ensure that you do not get taken advantage of and that your child has the best chance of a promising future.

Call Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law today at (516) 688-0088 to learn more about modifying child custody and visitation orders in New York.


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