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WHEN CAN I RETURN TO COURT TO MODIFY MY CUSTODY ORDER IN PENNSYLVANIA AND NEW JERSEY?

Parents subject to custody orders through the courts often wonder when they are able to return to court to modify their parenting time schedule. In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, custody and parenting time orders are never final and are subject to modification at any time in a child’s best interest. Each parent naturally wants to spend more with their children; however, courts will typically only modify schedules in certain circumstances.

In New Jersey, a court will typically entertain a request to modify parenting time once a parent preliminarily shows that a “change in circumstance” has occurred. This is an objective requirement and is subject to the discretion of a Judge. There is no set determination on what constitutes a change in circumstance, but typically, it must be some new set of facts that have changed since the last custody order was entered. This change requires a modification of the custody schedule in the best interests of the children. Once a parent shows that a change in circumstances exists, the Court typically will schedule a hearing to determine what schedule is in the best interests of the child.

In Pennsylvania, a parent who files a petition for modification of a custody order typically only must show that the modification requested is in the child’s best interest. While there is no requirement to demonstrate a change in circumstance has occurred, a court would still certainly consider whether 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.

WARNING: 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.

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