Cana parentpetition the court to modify a custody agreement without a lawyer?

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Cana parentpetition the court to modify a custody agreement without a lawyer?

My daughter lives in MD and got an uncontested divorce in 07/10. She agreed to shared custody and her ex would pay $3,000 monthly child and mortgage. He lied and told her he was being sued by one of his businesses and to save her salary from garnishment they should divorce. He moved out in 05/10 and rented a house in the same neighborhood and moved a divorced girlfriend and 2 children in with him. My daughter never would have agreed to shared custody had she known about the girlfriend. Her lawyer told her it would cost about $60,000 to go back to court. She can’t afford this. She now wants to move to CT with the children to be with us. What is her best course of action?

Asked on August 20, 2010 under Family Law, Connecticut

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Modification of a shared custody agreement can be a very difficult thing to achieve.  It will be up to your daughter to prove that there has been a significant change in circumstances and that it is in the best interests of the children.  Courts are not really keen on taking kids away from their parents.  I think that a better approach here would be to set aside the custody agreement based upon fraud.  The agreement is a contract and when a party is induced to contract based upon a fraud (fraud in the inducement) perpetrated by the other party the contract can be set aside.  I think that this may be an easier route to go - easier, not easy.  Maybe she should speak with legal aid or her local bar association for a pro bono (free) attorney service.   Good luck.


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