If you are a divorced parent in New York, you probably have a child custody order in place. Courts generally prefer that parents make an effort to work out any disputes over child custody between themselves. However, there are circumstances in which a modification may be necessary.
Violating the custody agreement
Sometimes, one parent is not able to fulfill their part of the child custody and visitation agreement. Parents should be flexible and understand that unexpected things can happen. However, there may be situations in which a parent is habitually late in picking up or returning children or perhaps often does not show up at all. In a case like this, the other parent may want to return to court to have the custody order modified. As is the case with all family law issues, courts will make a determination that they believe to be in the best interests of the child.
There may be situations in which a parent believes the child is unsafe with the other parent. This should not simply be a dispute about parenting styles. If the child is in danger because of abuse or other factors, a custody modification may be necessary.
Relocation and death
If one parent moves someplace far away, a court may consider how this will affect the child and the visitation schedule and agree to modify it. Modification may also be necessary if a custodial parent dies. The court must determine whether the noncustodial parent or a third party will get custody.
Parents should familiarize themselves with child custody laws in their jurisdiction so that they have an idea of what their options are in these situations. If a change in the schedule is only temporary, parents may be able to come to an agreement without having to go back to court.