Select Page

CASE STUDY: Jack & Jill

Modifying Child Custody Agreement
Contact Us for a Free ConsultationCall 631-923-1910

In order to successfully change a Child Custody Agreement or Order, the party seeking the modification must prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances warranting a hearing or trial. There are a few different situations in which a change in circumstances may occur. Below are two examples of such situations: Relocation and Change in Child’s Circumstances.

Situation #1: Relocation

Jack and Jill have a six-year-old child together. The parents do not live together. The two share joint physical custody of the child, alternating every five days (so the child would be with Jill Monday through Friday, then Jack Saturday through Wednesday, etc.). This arrangement works for them because they live in the same school district only two miles from each other. Both parents work full-time, but Jack earns about $40,000 per year more than Jill. Recently, Jill was chosen for a promotion at her job and the company has asked her to move. The relocation would mean she would now live over 5 hours away by car, but she would be earning a significantly higher salary and her medical, dental and optical benefits would far surpass those she is currently receiving.

Obviously Jack and Jill have a big problem. The two, as well as their child, have been very happy with their current custody arrangement. With the relocation, however, there is simply no way that the alternate five day schedule is feasible for Jill. She believes that she should take the child with her, as the school districts near her new home are much better than where the child is currently enrolled. Jack believes that the child should remain with him, as all of the child’s family and friends live within close proximity.

Jack and Jill now find themselves in court seeking a Modification to their Child Custody Agreement, with both parents asking the court to grant them sole physical custody.


In this case, Jill brought the Petition, so she has the burden of showing the court the move is in the child’s best interest, with some of her strongest arguments an improved standard of living and better schools.

If Jack had brought the Petition, the burden would be on him to prove that the move is not in the child’s best interests. Among his strongest arguments are the child’s ties to the community, i.e. the child’s school, friends, family, doctors, and the reduced access Jack would have with his child.

The court had to decide what it believes to be in the best interest of the child. If the court believed that relocating was in the child’s best interest, then the child would relocate with Jill. Jack would still be entitled to visitation, but it would certainly be less than the five out of every ten days to which he was previously entitled.

In the end, while Jill presented evidence showing that her relocation would improve her financial situation, the court found her justification for uprooting the child from the only home he or she has ever known (and where the child has been thriving socially and academically) unsatisfactory.  Jill failed to justify such a move that would qualitatively affect the child’s relationship with Jack. Given the lack of sufficient evidence proving to the court that the relocation would be in the child’s best interests, the court did not allow the relocation, and granted residential custody to Jack.


Situation #2: Change in the Child’s Needs        

Jack and Jill have a young child together. The parents do not live together, but share joint physical custody of their child. Jill works full-time and Jack works part-time. Jack has the child every Wednesday through Saturday afternoon and Jill has the child Saturday night through Tuesday. The child is a perfectly healthy, well-adjusted child with no major medical problems.

Unfortunately, the child is involved in an accident that causes severe brain injuries. The child needs around-the-clock medical care and supervision. With Jill working full-time she is not able to meet the multiple needs of her child during the week. Jack feels that he is in a better situation to care for their child and petitions the court for a Modification of Custody.

Jack asks the court to adjust the parent’s custody arrangement to better provide for the child’s needs. If Jill will pay child support and her share of medical expenses for the child, Jack believes he can adjust his work schedule to accommodate caring for his child. Jack makes his argument to the court and the court finds that he is better situated to meet the demanding needs of his child. The court, finding that the Modification is in the child’s best interests, modifies custody so that Jack has the child Monday through Friday and Jill has the child Saturday and Sunday.

Other Reasons for a Child Custody Modification on Long Island

There are certainly other situations that may qualify as a change in circumstances warranting a hearing or trial on a modification. This may include a change in the relationship between the parents, such as the inability to effectively communicate with each other, or it may be an abusive situation has made it unsafe for the child to continue living in a certain household. There is simply no “one size fits all” when it comes to Custody Agreements and seeking modifications.

Questions About Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island?

See this page to learn everything you need to know about Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island.

To learn more about what you need to know about Child Custody on Long Island, visit this page on Child Custody or contact us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary consultation.

Need Help with Your Child Custody Modification?

Contact Us at 631-923-1910 for a Free Consultation

If you are seeking to modify your Custody Agreement, it is very important to have an experienced Family Law Attorney represent your interests and effectively argue and defend your position. Custody matters can be extremely complex and difficult to navigate without the appropriate understanding of the underlying laws. If you wish to modify such an Agreement, contact our Office and set up your free consultation.

Jack brought the Petition, so the burden is on him to prove that the move would not be in the child’s best interests. Among his strongest arguments would be the child’s ties to the community ….

If Jill had brought the Petition, she would have had the burden of showing the court the move was in the child’s best interest, with some of her strongest arguments being an improved standard of living and better schools.


Call 631-923-1910 or fill in the form below

Schedule your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today.

When you call, you’ll speak to our friendly Client Services Director, who will be able to answer your general questions and set up your appointment with an attorney who specializes in your unique case.

At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you.

By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

No Cost or Obligation

There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation.

It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you.

* indicates required

Divorce Lawyer Attorney Long Island NY Courts Open
Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York



Google Review of divorce longisland
Tammy Granville
Tammy Granville
11:49 04 Jul 21
Everyone was very professional. Never had to call to get an update on my case. Someone always updated me on a regular basis.
Anastasia R
Anastasia R
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first call.


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



divorce questions answered



Long Island Divorce Guide

Fill the form to download Guide

* indicates required


Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., P.C. respects your right to privacy. We will never sell your information to any third party. Follow this link to read our full privacy policy.


Child Support & Spousal Maintenance Tools
Spousal Maintenance Calculator
Child Support Calculator

Pin It on Pinterest