Modification of Child Custody Orders

When and How Can Child Custody Orders Be Modified in New York City?

Child custody arrangements in NYC should always prioritize the best interest of the children first and foremost. However, as life events and situations change; what may have worked initially may not work in the future. Let’s discuss how child custody orders can be modified in New York City below.

When and How Can Child Custody Orders Be Modified in New York

What Are the Grounds for Modifying Child Custody Arrangements in New York City?


The court usually requires a parent to demonstrate a significant change in circumstances from the last time the initial order was issued to consider modifying a child custody orders.


These changes may include:


  • Neglect, abuse, or domestic violence
  • A significant change in the living situation of one of the parents
  • One parent has to relocate thus making the existing arrangement unrealistic
  • Any changes to the child's health welfare or education needs


The Court Will Always Evaluate the Best Interests of the Child Above Anything Else 


Even if there is a huge change in a parent’s situation or circumstance; the court will still consider what the child's relationship is with both parents as well as the preferences of the child. If the child is old enough to declare their preferences the court will take that into consideration


The court will also look to see which parents can better provide a stable and safe home environment. The court will also consider any previous history of child neglect or abuse.


What is the Process of Modifying Child Custody Orders in New York City?


Step One: Consult your divorce mediation lawyer about helping you file a petition with the court that issued the initial child custody order. Usually, this will be the family court in your area where either one parent or the child lives in.


Step Two: Mediation prior to your court date.  Mediation is a collaborative approach that assists both parents find a middle ground for child custody and divorce related matters.


Step Three:  A court evaluation may be required. Sometimes the court may require an evaluation if the parenting situation is delicate. A court evaluation involves working with a neutral 3rd party such as a psychologist or social worker.


Step Four:  Schedule a court hearing.  The court may require a hearing if both parents fail to come to an amicable agreement via mediation. The judge will evaluate all evidence, an evaluation report (if there was one conducted), and any applicable witness testimonies.


Step Five:  The judge may issue a modified child custody order.  If the judge determines that a child support order modification is in the best interest of the child or children; the judge will issue a new child custody order.


Do You Need Help with Your Child Custody Order in NYC?


Contact Sabra Law Group today to speak to a New York divorce mediation lawyer at (646) 472-6971.