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Do you need to modify your child custody or support orders?

 Posted on January 26, 2018 in Child Custody

One of the few constants in life is change. You may have felt like you understood your situation in life and your future trajectory when you went through your divorce. However, now things are different. Perhaps you lost your job and can't seem to find another that pays as well. Or maybe you've just made a change in your career path, deciding to follow your passion over higher pay. Whatever the reason is, there are many circumstances in life that can lead to a change in your earnings.

There are many possible reasons why your current child support or child custody order from your divorce is no longer optimal for your situation. If you've reached a point in your life where the amount of support ordered no longer matches your income or where increased time with your children would be in their best interests, it may be time to seek a modification of the initial order from the courts.

Negotiating with your former spouse

If you had a straightforward and relatively amicable divorce with your ex, he or she may simply agree to adjust the terms of your parenting plan. When it comes to parenting time, if your ex has primary custody or decision-making authority, talking about your changing needs and availability may be enough to have changes made that benefit you and your children.

While adjustments to your parenting plan can be simple, a verbal agreement could eventually fall through. This is why you should work with your ex to have the changes made official by requesting a modification from the courts. It's important to realize that even if your ex has legal custody of your children, he or she does not have the authority to change your child support obligations.

When the courts need to step in

If your ex doesn't want to adjust the parenting plan, but you believe increased visitation or parenting time is in the best interests of your children, you may have to petition the courts for a modification. Similarly, if you can no longer maintain the same level of support due to changes in your financial situation, the courts will have to make those changes official.

Child support orders can be reviewed for a modification every three years. However, if your financial situation changes before this point, you can still request a modification.

You will need to submit information to the courts about your changed financial situation. The courts will review all necessary documentation and make a decision that supports the best interests of the children and reflects your financial reality.

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