What Exactly is a Substantial Change in Circumstances Regarding New Jersey Custody Modifications?
While child custody is never deemed permanent in New Jersey, it is nonetheless imperative to know prior entering into an initial Court Order with regards to child custody that a future modification to that Order requires a substantial change in circumstance to be shown by the moving party.
The New Jersey Supreme Court case of Sheehan v. Sheehan provides the foundation for a three-part test as to whether a substantial change in circumstances has occurred:
- What is the parties’ current custody schedule?
- What circumstances have changed since the last Order was entered?
- What would be the adverse affect on the child’s best interests if current custody schedule is not modified?
Some examples of what a Court may find to be substantial changed circumstances are:
- Child’s enrollment in full-time school (if initial Order was entered when child was not attending school);
- Evidence that parent engages in alcohol/substance abuse while the child is in their care;
- One or both parents have moved farther apart making it difficult for either or both parties to comply with the original custody Order.
The above is not an exhaustive list and each case is fact sensitive. It is strongly encouraged for any parent, prior to entering into an Order establishing child custody, to consider the possible consequences.
Somerville Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Assist Parents with Custody Modifications
If you would like to learn more regarding court applications to modify custody based upon substantially changed circumstances the experienced Somerville child custody lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. are available to speak with you.
We represent men and women throughout New Jersey who have unresolved family law matters. We place a premium on personalized service and attention. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail, view our website at www.lyonspc.com, or call our office at 908-575-9777. We serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.