After parents divorce or choose to separate, life goes on. However, the needs of the children may adjust over time and parents may also have a reasonable desire to change or modify an existing custody agreement to assist with moving on to new jobs or establishing new relationships among other things. All states allow parents the chance to modify custody orders.
One of the best things you can do is identify opportunities to resolve things outside of court if you can. This is not always possible, however, which is why it makes sense to hire an experienced divorce lawyer in NJ to help you if you need to modify child custody orders.
If you can work things out amicably with the other person, you can change custody by consent in the state of New Jersey. The consent orders need to identify the exact terms on which you’ve agreed as well as all of the language that will be replacing the existing custodial order. In many cases, however, you might not be able to come to an agreement with your former spouse, meaning that you will need to go through New Jersey court procedures filing a motion for modification.
The modification process can involve up to two hearings. During the first hearing a judge will ask you to attend mediation to try to identify a new custody arrangement on your own. If you are successful, the mediator then submits those terms to the court where the judge issues a new custody order. If you and your former spouse cannot reach an agreement, however, you’ll need to go back to court for a second hearing where a judge is responsible for ruling on the matter.
Knowing what to expect and hiring an experienced NJ divorce or child custody lawyer at the outset of your case can help you close out your divorce but also help with your post-decree issues such as modification of child custody. Preparing yourself to approach this process involves hiring a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible so that you can develop a game plan.