White Plains Attorney Helps Modify Your Custody Order

Custody arrangements often need to change

Divorced parents remarry and relocate. Children’s needs change as they get older. Lauren B. Abramson, Esq. helps families seek custody modifications when their circumstances change after a divorce. When possible, we seek amicable resolutions through mediation or collaborative law. However when an agreement cannot be reached, we aggressively represent you in court.

How can I modify a custody order?

The attorney for either parent can ask the court to modify a child custody order. The other parent can object to any proposed change in the existing custody arrangement. If the parties agree on the terms of a modification, the court reviews the agreement to ensure the modification is in the child's best interests  and will then order the modification. If the parties cannot agree, the court sets a hearing on the proposed modification.

To justify a modification, the change of circumstances must be substantial. Courts do not want to bounce a child back and forth between parents unless there’s an important reason to do so. The court will decide for or against the proposed modification based on what is in the best interest of the child.

What do I have to prove to get custody modified?

If you have to go to court to fight for a change in the custody order, you must convince the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the last custody order in the case. Examples of substantial changes in circumstances include:

  • Changes in a parent’s physical or mental health
  • Changes in a parent’s financial or employment situation
  • Changes in the parents’ relationship with each another
  • Changes in a parent’s living arrangements
  • A parent’s deliberate acts to interfere with the other parent’s parenting time with the child
  • A change in a parent’s level of involvement in the child’s life
  • Difficulties implementing the current custody arrangement

If you can establish a substantial change in circumstances since the last custody order, the court will consider if a modification is in the best interest of the child.

Do I need a modification if I’m planning to move?

If the custodial parent wants to move to another state because of remarriage, a job transfer or any other reason, that parent must seek a modification of the custody order — even if the parent has sole legal custody. The noncustodial parent has a right to object on the basis that relocating the child will interfere with visitation and/or is otherwise not in the child's best interests.

The court will decide whether to grant the relocation request based upon the best interest of the child. If the court grants the modification, it may also alter the visitation arrangement to prevent the noncustodial parent from suffering a reduction in parenting time with the child.

Can’t my ex and I just informally agree on a modification?

Custody modifications are only enforceable if made in writing, with an appropriate acknowledgement, and signed before a notary public.   However, such  modification may be subject to review by the court, to determine if it was made in the best interest of the child, in the event one parent does not abide by the  terms of the modification and the other parent seeks enforcement of the terms of the modification.

Call our Westchester County firm about changing your custody order

Lauren B. Abramson, Esq. has provided compassionate, client-focused legal services for more than 25 years to families and individuals throughout Westchester and Putnam counties, including White Plains, Harrison, New Rochelle, Bedford, Armonk, Bronxville, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Somers, Croton-on-Hudson, Carmel, Peekskill and Rye. Our office is across from Saxon Woods Park, between the Hutchinson River Parkway and the New England Thruway. Call us today at 914-908-6829 or contact us online.