HELPING YOU ADJUST TO YOUR CHANGING LIFE AND CIRCUMSTANCES
While people usually look forward to moving on after settling a legal matter, court orders may need to be revisited to account for changing circumstances. While not all aspects of a divorce decree are open to change, child support, child custody, and parenting time modifications are actually quite common. Similarly, it may be necessary to revisit paternity orders to ensure that the best interests of the child are being met. Additionally, spousal maintenance modifications may be accomplished under some special circumstances. At the Law Office of Julie Fred, we can advise you of the circumstances that make modification possible.
Modification of Child Support
To modify a child custody order, parents must prove that there has been a substantial change in at least one of the custody factors since the last order was entered and also that the proposed modification would be in the child’s best interests.
When a custodial parent wants to relocate with the child, however, a different set of rules applies. At a minimum, parents who want to change residence must file a notice with the Clerk of the Court and provide the other parent with the opportunity to object in a timely manner. Either party also may ask the court to set a hearing to modify any existing custody or parenting time orders based on consideration of several factors:
- The distance involved in the relocation
- Whether the relocating parent has engaged in a pattern of conduct to obstruct the other parent’s rights
- The reasons for the relocation or against the relocation
- The hardship and expense it will cause on the other parent
- The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the child and non-relocating parent
- Any other factors affecting the child’s best interests
Relocation issues are often times complex. At the Law Office of Julie Fred, we can provide you information as to the evidence required to relocate if this is contested or what efforts can be taken to prevent or mitigate the relocation.
CHILD SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE MODIFICATION
A child support order may be changed only under one of two circumstances:
- A substantial and continuing change in circumstances makes the existing order unreasonable, OR
- The current order has been in place for at least one year and the new order will differ from the current child support order (up or down) by more than 20 percent.
To modify a spousal maintenance order after divorce, one must show that a substantial and continuing change in circumstances has made the existing order unreasonable. Most often, spousal maintenance is subject to downward modification or termination. However, upward modification is occasionally approved.