Settling custody terms in a divorce can be one of the hardest parts of disentangling your life from your ex’s. Once the courts make a determination about how they want you to split up custody, both of you have an obligation to follow those rules.
Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of adhering to a parenting plan. Other people intentionally break or bend the rules in order to punish, manipulate or control their ex. Not knowing if your ex will show up for parenting time or having them come back early or late can make it difficult for you to live your life.
If you are having consistent issues with your former spouse not returning the children on time, showing up late for scheduled parenting time or canceling at the last minute, do you potentially have grounds for a custody modification after your divorce?
Modifications require proof of a change in circumstances
The New Jersey family courts will review custody and support orders every few years to ensure that they are reasonable. However, you don’t have to wait for a scheduled review to ask for changes. If you can show that there has been a substantial change in your circumstances, you can request a special hearing and potentially ask the court to modify your existing custody order.
A documented pattern of violating the terms of the custody order might be sufficient reason to ask for a modification, especially if those disruptions have had a negative impact on the children. Keeping detailed written records of every canceled and changed custody date can help you show the courts a pattern of behavior that destabilizes your lives.
Your ex might agree to the modification request
You might ask for the courts to make changes to the amount of parenting time you have as part of your modification request. It’s possible that your ex could agree with your request, thereby allowing you to pursue an uncontested modification.
Even if your ex wants to fight back, if you can show that a change would benefit the children by making things more stable for them, the courts may side with you. Reviewing the situation thus far can give you a better idea about whether or not the circumstances currently justify a modification request.