New York courts recognize that your family circumstances change over time and that custody orders sometimes must change as well.
Before you attempt to modify a child custody order, know the procedure in place to protect yourself and your child from a drawn-out legal case.
Requirements for modification
You must prove that a substantial change in circumstances occurred in the lives of either parent or your child. Examples include:
- The relocation of a parent to a different city or state
- A significant increase or decrease in income
- A huge change in the child’s schedule
- A request from a child over the age of 12 to revise the order
A court does not want to see you shortly after it makes an order unless something severe happened.
Standard for modification
Your child’s best interests determine your eligibility to modify a custody order. Before making a decision, the court focuses on the issues you raise and considers many factors, such as the home environment, financial situation and educational opportunities provided by each parent.
To demonstrate the need for a modification, you will need to collect relevant evidence and present it to a judge. Keep all records related to the custody of your child, including witness statements, photos, videos, documents or voice recordings. A detailed journal with dates and events is also beneficial.
Changes to a custody order often prompt changes to child support orders as well. Just as it is with a custody order, either parent has the right to file a petition requesting a modification to a child support order.