Need a Post-Divorce Modification Lawyer in New Jersey?

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Post-Divorce Child Custody Modifications Lawyer in New Jersey

When circumstances affecting child custody change after a divorce, a post-divorce custody modification may be necessary. 

If you need a post-divorce custody modification, it is vital to seek legal assistance. Legal strategies and how the court will interpret the best interests of the child are complex, and it takes an experienced family law attorney to ensure success.

Understanding Custody Types in New Jersey

There are two types of custody that are decided in both divorces and post-divorce modifications: physical custody and legal custody. Legal custody refers to the parent’s ability and right to make most decisions for the child. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child resides.

For both legal and physical custody, either joint or sole custody is granted. Sole legal custody means that one parent makes all the decisions for the child without the other parent. Joint legal custody means the parents must make these decisions together.

Typically legal custody will be joint, unless there are extenuating circumstances that make one parent unfit to share legal custody. For example, an alcoholic parent may not be able to make sound decisions, prompting the court to grant sole legal custody to the other parent. 

Physical custody is another matter. When a child resides with each parent 50% of the time, this is called shared physical custody. Typically, one parent will have physical custody the majority of the time, and the other parent will have what is known as “parenting time”.

It is common for parenting time needs to change. While these changes should be attempted in mediation first, a post-divorce modification by a court may be necessary. 

Standard for a Post-Divorce Child Custody Modification

In a post-divorce child custody modification, the New Jersey courts must act primarily in the best interests of the child. This is detailed in Section 9:2-4a of the New Jersey state code. 

Factors that courts may use to determine the best interests of the child include:

  • The needs of the child
  • A history of unwillingness on the part of one parent to allow adequate parenting time for the other 
  • The child’s relationship with parents and siblings
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • The safety of the child and/or the safety of a parent from abuse by the other parent
  • The stability of each parent’s home environment
  • The quality and continuity of the child’s education
  • The parents’ fitness to care for the child
  • The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes
  • The extent and quality of time spent with the child before and since the divorce
  • The parents’ employment responsibilities
  • The ages and number of children

This list is not exhaustive, but it is representative of the factors courts will consider.

Grounds for Requesting Custody Modifications

A post-modification of divorce in New Jersey requires a significant change in circumstances. This might include:

  • A significant change in the needs of the child
  • Relocation or remarriage 
  • Permanent job loss
  • A significant change in work schedule
  • Serious illness
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Neglect, abuse, or domestic violence
  • Failure to adhere to custody terms
  • Incarceration

Relocation, remarriage, and changes in the needs of the child are the most common grounds for post-divorce modifications. 

The Legal Process for Custody Modifications in New Jersey

Filing a motion for modification is the first step in custody modifications in New Jersey. There is a $50 filing fee to file a motion for post-judgment modification. 

It is likely that the judge will order mediation. If at all possible, parents should agree on changes in custody arrangements out of court. However, if mediation fails, you will have a plenary hearing.

During the court hearing, the moving party presents their case for modifying the existing custody arrangement based on testimony from the parties and others involved, an expert such as a child therapist, and other evidence. The other party then presents evidence against the motion. Once all evidence and testimonies are taken, the Judge makes a decision. 

Strategies for Success

Effectively communicating one’s position is important when filing a motion for a post-divorce custody modification order, participating in mediation, and litigating the matter in court. This can be difficult because emotions are running high. However, staying calm and sticking to the facts will help achieve a positive outcome.

It is also important to demonstrate a stable and supportive environment for the child, especially if you are trying to be awarded physical custody. A stable and supportive environment is one of the key things the judge will look at when determining custody matters. 

The legal strategies used to challenge the existing custody agreement will vary based on why you are requesting a modification and what type of modification is being requested. It is best to hire an experienced post-modification lawyer in New Jersey to develop a solid legal strategy. 

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

The biggest challenge that most people face when seeking post-divorce custody modifications is the resistance of the other parent. Again, it is important to stay calm when dealing with the other parent. Another common challenge is the ever-changing needs of the parties’ children.

The Role of a Post-Divorce Modifications Lawyer

The post-divorce modification lawyer has an important role to play in custody modifications. The lawyer begins with evaluating the case and advising on the likelihood of success. They will then assist in gathering evidence and preparing the necessary documentation for the motion. 

It is especially helpful to have a post-divorce modification lawyer on your side to negotiate with the other parent and their attorney. The attorney can stick to the facts and ensure that emotions do not come into play. They can also suggest compromises and advise you on how the law applies to your case.


Post-divorce custody modifications can be complicated and require the attention of an experienced attorney. Rosenblum Law Firm has been representing clients in custody modifications for years, and we have a proven track record of success. Contact us today for a free consultation at 973-750-9556 or visit our website. 

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