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Can You Change a Child Custody Agreement Without Going to Court?

Child Custody Agreements in the State of New Jersey

Each state may differ somewhat in its divorce and child custody laws. However, most states have basic and well-written divorce and child custody laws, similar in nature.

We are experienced, seasoned child custody attorneys whose primary goal is the happiness of children caught up in their parent’s divorce.

The divorce and child custody laws in the state of New Jersey can be complicated, which is why you need a seasoned attorney by your side now and going into the future until your children are considered adults in New Jersey.

Mothers Always Got Child Custody and Excellent Fathers Were Short-Changed

Years ago, the mother was always handed custody of the children by divorce courts. No longer is this the case. Family courts now consider custody of the children awarded to the mother or the father depending on the parents’ situation and the many issues surrounding the need for divorce.

The courts may decide which parent is more capable of caring for the children’s physical and mental well-being, and court decisions can be against what each parent wants.

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Having a Child support lawyer by your side will play an important role in helping you move forward. They understand the complexities surrounding issues of child support, providing specialized expertise to ensure both parties are abiding by the laws and regulations in place for the protection of children and their families. They solve not only the financial part of a divorce, but can also provide you with psychological and emotional help to you and your child to make sure you are not going through that hard times alone.

Our esteemed attorneys guide and direct you through the divorce and child custody process while the children’s best interest is weighed. We recommend and advise you of creative resolutions that work for both the parents and the children.

Our court system can decide who has custodial rights of the children, joint custody, or if one parent is barred from any form of child custody or visitation rights. We protect parents’ rights. However, children’s rights are always at the forefront of any divorce.

We make sure you and your spouse make the right decisions regarding your children. Any wrong decisions made in divorce proceedings and child custody hearings can impact a child for the rest of their life. Children are under enormous stress during a divorce and divorce can ruin the child’s relationship with either parent.

Divorce, for most couples, is not easy, nor is it enjoyable. Divorcing couples who can agree on most issues regarding their children make the divorce proceedings much smoother. Couples who talk together will find the divorce and custody hearings more tolerable.

Parenting Plans are Required

Parents going through a divorce and who have children are ahead of the game if they create their own parenting plan. Parents can design their own child custody arrangement without going to court and having a family court judge intervene.

The divorcing parents must present a parenting plan for their children that your attorney can help you design to be acceptable to the non-custodial parent and the court. The court must review the agreement, and the judge must sign off on the custody arrangement.

Custody Agreements Can Change

Child custody arrangements are not so strict that they cannot be amended for the following reasons, and most courts realize that these custody arrangements are likely to change because,

  • Children grow older
  • The child’s needs and interests change.
  • Parents’ lives change, and things happen that demand changes to the child custody arrangements.

The family court must intervene when parents cannot sufficiently communicate with each other to design an agreed-upon custody arrangement.

Whether the parents create their child custody agreement and parenting plan or the family court designs this custody agreement, the judge must sign off to make this contract legal.

If one of the parents wants to modify the agreement in the future, this must go through the family court, and the judge must review the new arrangement and sign off on the changes to the contract for it to be legal and binding.

It is best when divorced parents can communicate respectably and speak to each other for the children’s sake. The parent wanting to make changes to their child custody agreement can talk to the other parent to see if they can agree to the change.

The modified agreement is submitted to the court for review if both parents decide and agree on these changes. Generally, the family court judge signs off on the custody arrangements and alterations without the parents going to court again.

This revised child custody agreement then becomes legally enforceable.

We are seasoned child custody attorneys in New Jersey. Child custody is much easier when the parents can talk to each other and agree on issues. We also understand how sensitive child custody issues become during the design of parental plans and custody agreements.

We are here to help resolve your divorce and child custody issues and help make this process go as smoothly as possible.

However, when parents cannot talk to each other without fighting and cannot agree on vital custodial issues, each parent becomes embroiled in an immense conflict and a difficult court battle, damaging each other and their children.

It is not unusual for children to feel guilty that their parents are divorced. Often, times they feel as though they did something wrong.

When parents continue to fight and cannot speak to each other or make decisions, the court may have to make these decisions, which may be what neither parent wants.

Equality for Parents

One of New Jersey’s custody laws ensures that each parent has equal contact with their children by sharing responsibilities and equal parenting rights.

The court understands that all situations regarding child custody may not amount to a 50/50 obligation. Not all child custody arrangements are awarded joint custody.

The family court knows if one parent is trying to sabotage the other parent in the eyes of the children. The active sabotage of one parent over the other can decrease their chances of getting the type of custody they had hoped.

In New Jersey, neither parent must live with their child to gain legal custody of the child.

Types of Custody Available are awarded in the best interest of the child.

  • Legal custody of children does not always mean the child lives with one parent or the other.
  • Physical and residential custody means that one parent lives with the children more than the other.
  • Joint custody can be awarded equally and with shared legal rights.
  • Custody or visitation rights may be taken away if the parent has behaviors that are not conducive to the child’s mental or physical well-being and safety.
  • How grandparents and siblings can spend time with children from a divorce.

All child custody agreements contain plans on how much time each parent may spend with the children. Custody agreements detail the time each parent gets to spend with the children, such as,

  • Vacations
  • Holidays
  • Unique holidays like mother’s day or father’s day
  • Breaks from school such as conference days
  • Weekends
  • Special occasions.

As time passes, this once court-approved agreement can be modified, but the judge must first review these changes and, if agreed with both parents, sign off, making the amended agreement legal.

Family courts in New Jersey do not require parents to go to court for custody agreement modifications. The courts like to see the following.

  • Can each parent communicate productively with the other?
  • Is each parent willing to accept custody?
  • Allowing sufficient child visitation rights of each parent.
  • How does the child interact with each parent?
  • The court considers any evidence of violence or abuse by either parent.
  • The child’s preferences regarding which parent they want to live with.
  • The child’s ability to make wise decisions.
  • How stable is the home?
  • How do parents agree on educational issues?
  • Considers the physical, mental, emotional needs of the children.
  • The parent’s ability to care for the children.
  • How much time does the parent spend with the children before separation and divorce?
  • How demanding are each parent’s job duties?
  • How many children are involved and their ages?

Our Goals for Parents in Divorce

Our goal is to educate you on the divorce and child custody laws in the state of New Jersey so each parent can make educated decisions concerning their children.

You must understand your legal options related to the welfare of your children and the process of child custody options.

These options are available to you, and your decisions affect your children for the rest of their lives.

For these reasons, the welfare of your children is our number one priority in addition to the child’s preferences and point of view.

It is the desire of family courts in New Jersey that children are kept out of the courts as this is too traumatic for children of any age.

Our seasoned and New Jersey licensed family attorneys are here to help with changes to your custody agreement.

Our law firm is advocates for fathers who yearn to remain involved in their children’s lives. The stand we take with fathers, and their custody and visitation rights, do not mean that we are against mothers who want custody of the children or setting visitation schedules for the father.

Throughout our years of family practice, we have seen that custody and visitation rights for men are short-changed.

Our goal is to ensure that custody and visitation rights are equally fair for both the mother and father. We also realize that extenuating circumstances can decrease a father’s or mother’s rights.

In these circumstances where it is not in the child’s best interest to remain with the father or the mother, the child may suffer.

However, the child’s well-being is of the utmost importance as the constitutional rights of both parents are weighed by the court system.


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