New York family court recognizes the importance of protecting the best interests of a child during and after divorce.
Both custodial and non-custodial parents have the right to request the modification of custody. When a parent or child’s needs change, the court may choose to adjust a previous agreement.
Common reasons to modify child custody
Some common reasons a parent may request child custody modification include:
- Either parent fails to follow the original custody order
- Either parent moves
- A parent faces criminal charges
- A parent battles addiction problems
- A parent remarries
- A parent faces financial changes, such as a significant decrease or increase in income
- Either parent commits an act of domestic violence
The parent filing for a change in custody must also provide sufficient evidence to support the reason.
Reasons a judge will modify custody
To receive approval for a change of custody, the court requires evidence of one of the following:
- A minimum of 15% change in income for either parent
- Circumstances for either the child or the petitioning parent changed substantially since the original order
- Neglect, abuse or abandonment
The court may also consider requests for modifications from children aged 12 or older. Additionally, the court typically requires at least three years to pass before allowing any modifications.
Ideally, parents would make changes to child custody without the need for legal interference. Once they reach an understanding, they can form a written agreement to present to a judge for official modification. However, if ex-spouses cannot come to a mutual agreement, the court can make the final decision based on the best interests of the child.