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.