New York Family Law Group

Can You Change a Custody Order in New York City?

Last updated on September 18, 2023

Even after a divorce is finalized and resolved, you may need additional legal help over the following months and years as your situation and circumstances change, or if your spouse violates or does not follow a court order.
At New York Family Law Group, our team of New York family law attorneys may be able to help with a wide variety of issues, including pursuing child support violations, or working to modify spousal or custody agreements.

Contact us now to discuss your situation and get the assistance you need.

Can Divorce Orders Be Modified?

Yes. While divorce orders like child support, spousal support, visitation, and other orders are “permanent,” this does not mean they cannot be modified. The court is designed to allow modifications and changes to divorce orders as necessary.

The grounds for a modification depend on the situation and your divorce orders, but typically require one party to show a significant “change in circumstances.” For example, if one spouse paying child support gets a much higher-paying job, the other spouse may petition the court to modify the amount of child support accordingly.

To begin this process, you must file a petition with the court and provide proof of the change in circumstances, and then request a court modification of the order. The court will consider the evidence and the situation, then determine whether or not the order should be modified.

New York child custody lawyer

What About Child Custody Orders?

Child custody orders may also be modified after a final divorce decree. The typical requirement for modifying a custody order is showing a “substantial change in circumstances” for one parent or the child since the custody agreement was established. A substantial change in circumstances is something one or both parents could not anticipate at the time the order was issued. There are many variables as to what would be considered a substantial change in circumstance, which is why it is important to speak with an attorney.

How Can A Court Order Be Enforced?

The primary enforcement mechanism for court orders is to report to the court if a court order is violated. For example, if a child’s parent fails to pay their owed child support or fails to abide by the visitation and custody schedule, the other spouse would file a violation or enforcement petition with the court.

Essentially, this is a petition that is asking the court to enforce the order that’s being violated. The court will then hold a hearing to find if the court order was violated. If so, the responsible person could be held in contempt of court. This could result in fines, or even incarceration for up to 6 months, in some cases.

Order Modification Process
Child Support File a petition with proof of change in circumstances and request a court modification of the amount.
Spousal Support File a petition with proof of change in circumstances and request a court modification of the amount.
Visitation File a petition with proof of change in circumstances and request a court modification of the visitation schedule.
Child Custody Show substantial change in circumstances since the custody agreement was established and consult with an attorney.
Enforcement of Orders File a violation or enforcement petition with the court to enforce the violated court order. The court will hold a hearing to determine if the order was violated and may impose penalties.

Can Sole Custody be Reversed?

Reversing sole custody is a legal process that involves modifying the existing child custody orders. To do so, one must demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances that could not have been anticipated at the time of the original custody agreement. The definition of a substantial change can vary, but it typically refers to significant developments such as a parent’s relocation, a child’s health condition, or a parent’s inability to care for the child. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help clarify what constitutes a substantial change in circumstances.

To modify a custody order, one must file a petition with the court and present evidence of the change in circumstances. The court will then evaluate the evidence and decide whether or not to modify the order. If the court determines that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, it may reverse sole custody.

Working with a family law attorney is highly recommended in navigating the legal process of modifying custody orders. An attorney can help ensure that all legal requirements are met, and court orders’ language is clear. They can also guide in filing petitions with the court for modification or enforcement of a court order. Additionally, they can provide necessary advice and assistance to protect your rights and interests.

How Can An Attorney Help Protect A Court Order?

First, an attorney can help you understand the exact legal requirements and the language used in a court order, which ensures you know your rights and obligations after a divorce settlement, as well as potential penalties for violating the order.

Working with an attorney also makes it easier to file petitions with the court if a court order is violated. A New York family law attorney will know how to file the petition, provide evidence to the court, and ensure the other party either meets their obligations for child support, visitation, spousal support, and other such court orders, or faces the necessary legal consequences for violating them.

Contact New York Family Law Group For The Representation You Need

Whether you’re interested in modifying and changing a court order after divorce, or you need assistance pursuing your ex-spouse or your child’s parent for violating a court order, attorneys Martin Mohr and Ethan Steward can help.

The team at New York Family Law Group has experience in all aspects of family law and divorce law, including post-decree matters. We can provide you with the legal assistance and advice you need.

Contact us now for a consultation.



More Resources