When your family court orders are not working anymore, when can you go back to court? Did you know that if you don’t have real changed circumstances, you might be sanctioned by the court?
It is very common that people have major changes in the years following their divorce. These changes will effect parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance, the child tax credit division or your share of extraordinary child expenses.Parenting time and child support is always modifiable if your circumstances warrant the change.
Modifying Parenting Time
In order to modify legal decision making or parenting time, you have to meet certain criteria for the court to consider modification:
- It must be at least one year since the current Parenting Plan Order was entered. Exceptions can be made if the child is in danger of physical harm.
- You must prove there has been a material change in circumstances (“changed circumstances”) directly affecting the welfare of your child(ren).
Major changes include relocation to a different home, a new spouse and/or new children, long-lasting illness, neglect or abuse by a parent, or failure to abide by the current parenting schedule.
You may choose to handle modification by filing a petition, attending mediation, and/or reaching an agreement or stipulation to modify the existing parenting plan.
Modifying Child Support
In order to modify Child Support payments, major “substantial and continuing” changes must have occurred, such as: increases or decreases in your earnings, loss of employment, relocation to a different home, a new spouse and/or new children, or long-lasting illness. These changes are called “changed circumstances” by the court and they are required to qualify for a modification. It is important to seek modification with the Court as soon as your circumstances warrant it, as the court is not allowed to make the change retroactive. Many people end up owing significant amounts of back support payments with interest because they did not act when their circumstances changed.
Adversely, if your child support does not change by more than 15% up or down, then the modification should not have been done and the losing party can be sanctioned by the court. To keep that from happening, seek counsel from an attorney to review your new child support calculations based on your changed circumstances and see if you should modify. We can save you time and frustration.
Why would you want to modify if you save $100 a month in child support, only to find that you owe your attorney a couple thousand dollars after the case is done? We provide a “cost benefit” analysis and help you to understand what you will need to have in order to succeed in modifying your orders after divorce.
Before you decide to file your request to modify child support, it is wise to have your documents checked by a lawyer because it can be very frustrating to realize you may not qualify at this time to modify. At McMurdie Law & Mediation, we provide advice and counsel, or limited scope representation when your case may not justify full representation. We can guide you to prepare your own case and save a great deal in attorney fees. We will review your documents and give you guidance about developing your documents and proof needed for court. Contact McMurdie Law & Mediation to find out if your case warrants modification.
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