In order to ask the court to change your custody/visitation order, you must demonstrate that there has been a “change in circumstances” since the date of the most recent custody/visitation order in your case.
Listed below are some examples of changes in circumstances that a custodial parent might experience. Review this list to help you to determine if you have experienced a change in circumstances.
- The child(ren) is (are) expressing fear or anxiety about visiting with the non-custodial parent.
- The child(ren) now has (have) after school and weekend activities which conflict with the present visitation schedule in the court order.
- You can no longer afford the expense of traveling to the non-custodial parent’s home to pick up the children and for that reason want the court to order that you and the non-custodial parent share the responsibility for and cost of transporting the child(ren) to and from visits.
- The non-custodial parent has moved farther away and weeknight visits interfere with homework and bedtime.
- You have moved farther away and the trip to the home of the non-custodial parent is much longer and for that reason you would like to change the location(s) where the child(ren) is(are) picked up before visits and dropped off after visits.
- The non-custodial parent is abusive or threatening to you and you would feel safer meeting to pick up and drop off the child(ren) at a police station rather than at his or her home and for that reason you would like to change the location(s) where the child(ren) is(are) picked up before visits and dropped off after visits.
- You want to take the children on a vacation which may interfere with the non-custodial parent’s visitation schedule.
- You want to be informed if the non-custodial parent travels out of state with the child(ren).
- You want to take the children on a visit out of the state or the country and the non-custodial parent objects to this.
- You want to permanently re-locate to another state or country.
- You feel that the visits need to be supervised because the non- custodial parent may be neglecting, threatening or abusing the child(ren). For example:
- The non-custodial parent or a household member is physically abusing the child(ren).
- The non-custodial parent or a household member is abusing drugs or alcohol.
- The home of the non-custodial parent is unsafe.
- The non-custodial parent does not properly feed the child(ren).
- The non-custodial parent does not have an appropriate place for the child(ren) to sleep.
- The child(ren) has(have) special medical needs which the non-custodial parent is not considering.
NOTE - EMERGENCIES - If your change in circumstances is an emergency you will need to use special procedures and forms.
Here are some examples of emergencies:
- The court order directs you to provide the child(ren) to the non-custodial parent for visitation and you have discovered something about the non-custodial parent or a household member that makes the visit unsafe for the child(ren).
- An emergency requires that you go away as soon as possible and you wish to have the child(ren) come with you.
- You have had a medical emergency of some type, need to have someone take temporary custody of your child(ren) immediately and the non-custodial parent is unavailable or unwilling to do so.
- The non-custodial parent has not returned the child(ren) after a visit and it has been over 24 hours since the child(ren) was(were) due to be returned.
NOTE – PERMANENTLY REMOVING YOUR CHILDREN FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
If your change in circumstances is that you need to permanently re-remove/relocate your child(ren) to another state, you need to be aware of New Jersey law concerning removal of children from the state. There may be serious legal consequences to you if you remove the child(ren) without the proper legal consent of the non-custodial parent or permission of the court.
View more information about the subject of relocation and interference with custody/visitation. and choose this publication: "Parenting Time: A Child’s Right- New Jersey Laws Governing Custody and Parenting Time".
Click below on the statement that most closely applies to you situation: