When two New Jersey parents finalize a divorce, they typically move on in life with a co-parenting plan in place that has been approved by the court. In certain circumstances, one parent or the other may file a petition to request modification of a child custody or child support order. Filing a petition does not necessarily mean the family court judge overseeing the case will grant the request.
Actor Jesse Williams recently experienced this when the court ruled that it wouldn’t be in his children’s best interest to modify an existing shared child custody order.
Williams and Ex, Aryn Drake-Lee, took three years to finalize their divorce
Williams, whose work is familiar to fans of the popular TV show, “Grey’s Anatomy,” had initially agreed to share physical and legal custody with his former wife, Aryn Drake-Lee. While details were not provided as to why Williams filed a petition for modification, it is known that he asked the court to change the custody order and to lower to his child support payments.
The court agreed to lower the payments from $50,000 to $40,000 per month. However, the judge denied Williams’s custody modification request, stating that it was not in the children’s best interest.
Williams and Drake-Lee were ordered to attend parenting classes
The court also ruled that because Williams and Drake-Lee have a high-conflict relationship, they must attend parenting classes together that are designed to help parents who have difficulty peacefully resolving parenting issues. Data shows that when children are constantly exposed to parental conflict in divorce, they may have a more difficult time coping with the situation. There are many resources available that provide support for parents and children as they learn to adapt to a new lifestyle after divorce.
Building a strong support network is the key to success
No two families are exactly the same, which means the court can make child custody and child support decisions based on the merits of each unique case. If a New Jersey parent believes sole custody would be best, then he or she can file petition to request it but must be ready to provide evidence that convinces the court to rule in his or her favor. Similarly, if a parent has a legitimate reason that has made him or her unable to meet agreed-upon child support payments, a request for modification can be filed, but the parent must continue to make payments on time unless and until the court grants the modification request.