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Be prepared to show just cause for child custody modification

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2024 | Family Law

When a New Hampshire judge issues a court order that includes a co-parenting agreement in a divorce, both parents must adhere to its terms. In fact, neither parent may change or disregard the existing terms, unless he or she files a petition in court and the judge grants approval. This process is known as child custody modification.

A New Hampshire family court has children’s best interests in mind when making child custody decisions. Therefore, the court must be convinced that it is within a child’s best interest to change or modify its orders. A parent must demonstrate just cause when seeking modification of a custody agreement.

What constitutes just cause for child custody modification?

To show “just cause,” means to provide evidence that proves a parent has a legitimate reason for asking the court to change a child custody order. Here are several examples of just cause:

  • Parental alienation is occurring — one parent is denying children access to the other
  • Parent is abusive
  • Parental substance abuse
  • Loss of employment
  • Relocation due to employment
  • Change in work schedule

These are all potentially  valid reasons to request child custody modification. The court understands that life changes may affect a parent’s ability to meet the terms of a court order. For example, if a work schedule changes, a parent might not be able to pick up or drop off kids at the designated place and time.

What if a parent disregards a custody order?

As noted, all parents must adhere to the court’s orders regarding child custody in a divorce. If a judge determines that a parent is intentionally disregarding the terms of an agreement, the parent could be held in contempt of court. Any New Hampshire parent who has concerns about a child custody case may seek legal guidance and support from an experienced family law attorney.

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