After a divorce, both parents typically want what is best for their children. Custodial arrangements are often made with this goal in mind. However, over time, people’s situations change – jobs, residences, and other priorities in life may shift. When this happens, it may be necessary to modify the terms of your child custody arrangement. 

Many people wonder if they can modify their child custody arrangements without going to court. The answer is that it is possible to do so, but there are certain requirements that must be met; further, the court will still need to approve the changes.

How To Modify a New Jersey Child Custody Arrangement 

In order to modify a child custody arrangement without going to court in New Jersey, both parents must agree to the changes and sign a document called a motion. This motion must then be submitted to the court for approval. 

Here’s a brief look at the steps needed:

  1. You and the other parent must agree to the changes. If you can’t come to an agreement, you’ll have to go back to court. 
  2. The changes must be in the best interest of the child
  3. The changes must be significant. A change in work schedule or a new address isn’t enough unless you’ve moved far away. 
  4. You must submit the proposed changes in writing to the other parent. 
  5. If the other parent agrees to the changes, they must sign off on them. 

If the parents are not able to come to an agreement on their own, they may participate in mediation. Mediation is a process whereby an impartial third party (the mediator) helps the parents discuss their disagreements and come to an agreement on a new child custody arrangement. 

Parents may also choose to hire attorneys to represent them in negotiations outside of court. Once an agreement is reached, the attorneys will prepare the stipulation for submission to the court. 

New Jersey Grounds for Modifying a Child Custody Arrangement

One of the most common grounds for modifying a child custody arrangement is a substantial change in the circumstances of either the child or the parent. For example, if the custodial parent gets remarried or loses their job, this may be grounds for modifying the custody arrangement. Other changes that may be considered include moves to a new house or city, changes in work schedule, and so on. 

Another common ground for modification is that the child’s needs have changed. For example, if the child is now school-age and was previously living with the non-custodial parent part-time, it may be appropriate to modify the custody arrangement so that the child can have stability during the school week. Or, if the child has developed special needs or medical conditions, this may also be grounds for modification. 

A modification may also be possible when there has been a change in the parenting abilities of either parent. For example, if the custodial parent develops a substance abuse problem or is convicted of a crime, this may be grounds for modifying the custody arrangement. Likewise, if the non-custodial parent has made significant improvements in their life, such as completing drug treatment or sobriety, this may also be grounds for modification. 

Contact a Bergen County, New Jersey Family Law Attorney Today

There is no more important thing in your life than your relationship with your child. If your circumstances have changed, or the circumstances of your child’s other parent have changed, you may be able to modify your child custody arrangement. Whether you can do that outside of court may also be possible, depending on your specific situation. Contact Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today to get the experience you can trust.

Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule a free consultation with our team.

Bergen County Law Office
1 University Plaza Dr #400, Hackensack, NJ 07601, United States