You and your ex-spouse may need to change the parenting plan that was part of the custody order when your divorce was finalized. Parenting plans are not set in stone. New Jersey courts may allow a plan modification when a parent can show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances and the modification is in the best interests of the minor children.
Contact an Attorney to Discuss Your Situation
The first thing you should do when contemplating revising your co-parenting plan is to contact an experienced attorney to discuss your situation. They would analyze your co-parenting situation with you to help you determine whether a substantial change in circumstances could justify a modification. Then, they would review the existing parenting plan. Your attorney can also work with you on the most effective possible strategy.
You Could Negotiate a Modification
Then, working with your attorney, you would determine whether it would be beneficial to negotiate directly with the other parent. Parents can agree on their own to change a parenting plan. Once you agree on the revisions, you and your ex-spouse would write them and file them with the Court as a consent order. The Judge would review the changes to verify that they were in the best interests of the minor children.
Alternatively, you can file a petition directly with the Court seeking changes to the co-parenting plan. The motion would describe the changes you seek and the reason for them. The other parent would be entitled to respond to the motion. The Judge would then hold a hearing on the modification and issue a decision.
In the hearing, you would have the burden of proving that substantially changed circumstances justify the modification and that the modification is in the best interests of the minor children.
Your attorney would need to present evidence and potentially call witnesses. For that reason, a modification hearing can be similar to a trial. You may be better off negotiating or mediating a solution.
Follow the Existing Plan Until it Is Changed
In the meantime, you should follow the existing parenting plan because it is a court order. Even if you believe the parenting plan needs to be changed, you should wait for an agreement or a court order. Otherwise, you could face a contempt of court charge, and your effort to obtain a modification could be harmed. You should also document everything that happens in the meantime that supports your argument that the parenting plan needs to be changed.
Hunterdon County Divorce Lawyers at Tune Law Group, LLC Can Help You Modify Your Co-Parenting Agreement
If you need help modifying a co-parenting plan, contact our Hunterdon County divorce lawyers at Tune Law Group, LLC. Call us today at 908-434-1061 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, we serve clients in and around Hunterdon County, Monmouth County, Whitehouse, and Tewksbury.