Circumstances often change and an award that made sense in the past may no longer be appropriate. In such cases, a modification may be necessary. Alimony, child support, child custody and visitation can all be modified. However, the right to modify alimony is often waived by agreement.
It is important to remember that your existing Court order remains in effect until a new, or modified, order is entered. Unless the court issues a temporary order, a party is usually obligated to maintain the regular payments throughout the modification process. When you believe that the required ending date has passed you should contact a lawyer to discuss formally ending payments.
Child Support Modification
Child support modifications are common and can occur as often as every two (2) years. A substantial change in income or financial status of either party or the needs of the child can trigger an upward or downward modification. A hearing will most likely be held to determine if the changes warrant a modification. These same conditions apply to spousal support requirements.
Child Custody Modification
If there has been a significant change in circumstances since the last order, the Court will consider a request for a change in custody. Typical changes may include relocation, remarriage, drug or alcohol abuse, physical or mental abuse, criminal activity and any other factor that materially affects the child's well-being. A child over 11 may state a preference to live with one parent and a child at age 14 has the right to request a change. However, the Court must always determine that the change is in the child's "best interets".
Visitation schedules often require modification based on relocation, changes in work schedules, and ages of the children. If the parties cannot agree on a new schedule, it may be necessary to seek court intervention.
If you feel your circumstances have significantly changed since your last agreement was entered, a modification may be appropriate, please contact our office.