New Baby- Change in circumstance?


#1

My ex-husband and I share legal custody of our 4 year old daughter. I have primary physical custody of our daughter, and he has bi-weekly weekend visits. This arrangement has been in place for the last 3.5 years.

He is engaged and I recently found out his fiancé is pregnant. Is her pregnancy and or the birth of their child considered a change in circumstance in which he could modify custody?

We do not have any cooperative co-parenting taking place. Our 2012 court ordered required us to attend co-parenting classes (he was responsible for paying for them). He has not complied with this order. I have done my due diligence by reminding him of the obligation to attend classes but can not move forward without him making the appointment and paying the deposit.


#2

According to our child support guidelines:

“A parent’s financial responsibility (as determined below) for his or her natural or adopted children who currently reside with the parent (other than children for whom child support is being determined in the pending action) is deducted from the parent’s gross income. Use of this deduction is appropriate when a child support order is entered or modified, but may not be the sole basis for modifying an existing order.”

So your ex wouldn’t be able to use the new child as the sole reason for seeking a modification.


#3

You mention support guidelines. Does the same hold true to custody?


#4

Either parent can file a motion to modify child custody at any time so long as they cite a substantial change in circumstances and the judge finds that modification of the order will serve the best interests of the child. Ultimately it is up to the judge to decide if a new fiance/child would warrant such a change, and the judge is given a lot of discretion. As such, I can’t say definitively whether this would warrant a change in the schedule.