When a parent is placed under a child custody order by the court they most likely wonder when they will be able to modify that order. In fact, custody orders and parenting time orders placed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are never final and can be modified anytime within the best interests of the children. However, courts will typically only modify schedules in certain circumstances.
In New Jersey, a court will typically grant a request to modify parenting time once a parent can show that a “change in circumstance” has occurred. This is an objective requirement and is subject to the discretion of a Judge. Although there is no definitive answer as to what constitutes a change in circumstance, it usually implies that facts have changed since the last custody order was entered. Once a parent shows that a change in circumstances exists, the Court will then schedule a hearing to determine a parenting schedule that is in the best interests of the children.
In Pennsylvania, a parent who files a petition for the modification of a custody order only needs to show that it is in the child’s best interest. While there is no requirement to demonstrate a change in circumstance has occurred, the court will still take into consideration whether or not anything has changed since the last time a custody order was entered. The courts in Pennsylvania utilize several factors in order to determine whether the modification is in the best interest of a child.
THIS IS A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF LAW AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE LEGAL ADVICE. FOR ANY LEGAL QUESTIONS PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY. IF YOU ARE SEEKING TO MODIFY A CUSTODY ORDER OR PARENTING TIME, CONTACT US.