Changing Child Custody Or Support Arrangements

Generally, under New York law, a child custody order cannot be modified unless there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order was created. When reviewing a modification request, a court must examine whether, under the totality of the circumstances, the modification of custody is in the best interests of the child.

A court may consider several factors when making this determination, including:

  • The parent the child was originally placed with
  • The period of time the child was placed with this parent
  • The child's preferences
  • The quality of the child's home environment
  • The financial status of both parents
  • The parental fitness of both parents

Ultimately, these are just few of the factors a court may look to when deciding whether to grant a modification request. Indeed, many other circumstances, in varying combinations, may come into play as well, which is why it is often best to seek legal guidance if you have questions about child custody modifications.

Can Child Support Ever Be Modified?

Importantly, custody is not the only child-related legal arrangement that may be modified post-divorce. Child support obligations may be subject to change as well, but only in certain situations.

Just like child custody, support payments may be modified following a substantial change in circumstances. For instance, if the needs of a child increase for some reason ― such as a medical condition ― an increase of support may be warranted.

Alternatively, a downward modification of child support may be justified if the income of the parent making payments decreases substantially. However, if the drop in income is due to the parent's own misconduct or because he or she simply wants to quit working, a change in child support is very unlikely.

We Can Help Explain Your Modification Options

If you have questions about modifying either child custody or child support, contact Rieger & Fried LLP to speak to a knowledgeable lawyer. With an office in Garden City, our attorneys represent clients throughout Long Island and the surrounding areas. You can reach us online or call us at 516-712-2268. We offer initial consultations.