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How to Seek a Change in Child Custody, Child Support or Visitation

Many parents are not aware that child custody, visitation and child support orders can be modified after they have been entered by a court. A parent seeking modification must meet the legal standard and support his or her petition with evidence that the standard is met by the facts of the particular case. This can be challenging, but not impossible. With the advice and experience of a New Brunswick child custody lawyer, modifications can be obtained which help parents meet their financial obligations and enforce their legal rights to both physical and legal custody of their children.

Shadow of Parent Holding Childs Hand

The Many Different Issues Which Can Arise After Child Custody Orders Are Entered

Co-parenting is a constant and complicated negotiation of hundreds of different decisions. Because of this, it is not at all uncommon for separated or divorced parents to encounter disputes which they are simply unable to negotiate amongst themselves. Parents have the right to submit such disputes to the family court for resolution. These disputes can cover a wide variety of issues.

In Emma v. Evans, 215 N. J. 197 (Supreme Court of New Jersey 2013), the court had to determine which parent could choose their children’s surnames. The children had been given their father’s last name at birth, but after the parents divorced, their mother began used a hyphenated version of both names on the children’s medical and school records. The father asked the trial court for an order prohibiting the use of the hyphenated last name. In response, the mother asked the court to legally change the children’s surnames to her own. The trial court granted the mother’s request, finding that a custodial parent is presumed to act in the best interest of the child in selecting a surname.

The Appellate Division of the Superior Court later overruled this opinion, finding that a presumption in favor of the custodial parent’s naming decision was improper where the child was born “in wedlock to parents who subsequently divorce.” The case eventually went to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which noted the importance of gender-neutral policies in resolving naming disputes, and also disfavored any presumption in favor of a custodial parent’s choice where both parents shared joint legal custody of the child. The Supreme Court rejected the Appellate Court’s focus on whether the child was born to married parents, and instead invoked a simple “best interests of the child” test for trial courts to use in resolving naming disputes between parents who share joint legal custody.

Courts can even determine about how these disputes will be resolved. The state Supreme Court faced this issue in Fawzy v. Fawzy, 948 A.2d 709 (2008), 400 N.J. Super. 567. In that case, the father wished to appeal custody orders made in binding arbitration. The Supreme Court held that “where no harm to the child is threatened” there is no need for the courts to infringe upon the parents’ choice to submit their disputes to binding arbitration.

A child’s needs are constantly changing. Separated parents often need to adjust their custody arrangements to serve the best interests of their children. A New Brunswick child support lawyer can help parents seek necessary changes in child support, visitation, or child custody to enforce their legal rights.

If you have questions about a New Brunswick child support, visitation or custody order, contact the Somerset County child custody attorneys at Rozin-Golinder Law LLC by calling (732) 810-0034.

Additional Resources: Emma v. Evans, 215 N. J. 197 (Supreme Court of New Jersey 2013), Decided August 12, 2013, Supreme Court of New Jersey

More Blog Entries: New Jersey Child Custody Modification Requires Substantial Change in Circumstance, October 17, 2017, New Jersey Family Law Attorney Blog

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