When a New York court issues a custody order that is not deemed a temporary custody order, the order is considered final. The court wants children to have stability. The court, however, will modify a custody order if the situation warrants. For example, if a child is over 12 years old and wants to live with the other parent, that might warrant a modification. If a parent becomes abusive or develops a substance abuse issue, the court would view that as a reason to modify the custody arrangement. Another grounds for modifying custody would be one parent interfering with the other parent’s access to the child. There must be a change in circumstances such that modifying the custody order would be in the best interests of the child.
In Katie S. v. Christopher K., the New York Family Court was asked to determine whether there were changed circumstances such that a change in custody was warranted.