mother with son

Parents who go through a divorce in the state of New York are required to settle many matters regarding their children before the marriage is officially dissolved. During this time, one of the most important matters is child custody. When a custody agreement is made, both parents are required to abide by it because it is considered law. While this is true, the court also understands that family situations can change overtime and a custody arrangement may no longer work for them. In cases such as these, a modification can be requested to allow for changes. Continue reading below to learn more about how this can be done.

When Can I Modify Custody Arrangements?

It is important to know that parents who wish to change their custody agreement cannot simply do so on their own. In order to receive a modification, the parent must petition the court for approval. This must entail a reason that calls for the change, such as the following:

  • The child’s best interests. If a child is unhappy or their living situation no longer works for them.
  • The child is in danger. If there is suspicion a co-parent may put the child in danger or there is abuse/neglect.
  • Relocation. If a parent needs to move and wants to bring their child with them.
  • A parent cannot meet the needs of their child. If a parent’s life circumstances make it hard to support their child the way they need.
  • One parent is not cooperating. If parents have joint custody but one does not follow the agreement.
  • One parent passes away. If a parent dies and the other parent does not want a new spouse to raise their child, they can seek full custody. 

How is Custody Modified?

When a parent wishes to modify their custody agreement, it can be beneficial to first speak with their co-parent regarding the matter. Sometimes, parents are able to work out an agreement with one another on their own or through the assistance of mediation. It is important to note that even in these situations, the court must still approve the changes so that they are legal. 

If parents are unable to agree with one another regarding a new arrangement, the one who wants the modification can file the petition with the court. During this time, they are required to prove to the judge the change is necessary and in the best interest of the child. The judge can review the case and create a new order if they approve the modification.

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Zimmet Law Group, P.C. is an experienced team of attorneys guiding clients through matters of estate planning and administration, divorce and family law, real estate, commercial litigation, business law, bankruptcy, and landlord-tenant law. If you require the services of an effective New York City attorney, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.