Even though court-determined orders are finalized, they are not always set in stone. Just like the lives of the parties involved, the goals of child custody, visitation and support agreements may change as time progresses. Therefore, it’s sometimes necessary to revisit these agreements to ensure they stay up-to-date with the family’s circumstances. Agreements can be modified according to a changing situation or to meet new needs. As a child grows older, his or her situation changes, so parents may want to address these new concerns with corresponding modifications. Sometimes, if both parents agree, modifications can be made without going to court. However, the help of a family law attorney is often beneficial.
Child custody or visitation agreements might need tweaking after major life changes have occurred. Reasons for modifications include the deteriorating health of a parent, a change in income or work schedule, a change in child schedule or preference, or another factor that compromises a parent’s ability to care for the child. A parent might want to limit or increase the amount of visitation time that was agreed upon.
Regardless of your reasons, there are several steps you will need to take. If you are the parent seeking a change, you will need to make a request to the court. You will have to fill out the court forms and provide adequate supporting evidence for your request. Eventually, once the proper paperwork is completed, you will go to your court hearing. When you are modifying final child custody or visitation orders, you will need to provide evidence that your circumstances have changed. This is for the court to confirm that the reasons for modifications are in the best interest of the child.
Similarly, it’s possible to alter child support agreements after they’ve been ordered. There are many reasons to modify child support, such as receiving less income. The parent may have remarried or had more children. However, this request will not be approved unless you are able to prove that your situation has changed. You must provide documentation of your changing circumstances as evidence that modifications are necessary for the child’s wellbeing.
It is worth noting that the changes do not necessarily need to be permanent. You can make temporary modifications to a court-ordered arrangement. This is done on a circumstantial basis, since more severe needs might require a permanent change. Temporary modifications are helpful for situations that can be resolved, such as a parent who loses his or her job and is temporarily unemployed. With this option, you will not need to make two consecutive changes to the order, but one limited change.
In order to make these changes, you will likely need an attorney to help guide and inform you through the process, assist in seeking a cooperative solution with your co-parent, and if needed, to present your best case in court. You may also need assistance proving that your request is for the child’s benefit in this his or her best interests. The attorneys at Miranda, Magden & Miranda, LLP are experienced in representing clients in modification cases. Reach out to us today and schedule a consultation.
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