For most people, figuring out how to divide parenting time and deciding how much financial support to offer through child support or spousal maintenance can be a bit of an ordeal.
Whether it's done through an alternative dispute resolution method or through litigation, the ultimate goal is to find an equitable arrangement that hopefully works for everyone. And, in many cases, such an arraignment can be accomplished. Parties move on with their lives and everything is finalized, right?
Unfortunately no. Life is unpredictable. Schedules change, and sometimes what works at the time of a divorce, doesn't work a couple years down the line.
People often need to ask the court for a modification to an original family law court order.
How support modifications work
When it comes to child support, the calculation is typically based on each parent's financial situation and the amount of parenting time they spend with the children.
Maybe the parent who has the majority of the parenting time wasn't making a lot of money initially, but now has a steady paying job. Maybe the parent making child support payments has lost his or her job and can no longer afford to make the payments originally stipulated.
These types of situations can trigger the need to modify a support arrangement.
Modifying parenting schedules
Many parties also often seek modifications to visitation or parenting schedules. One parent, for example, may ask for more time with the child than the court originally granted. In other cases, parties need to alter the schedule because of conflicts with the child's academic, work, social or extracurricular activities. Maybe a parent wishes to relocate out-of-state for a job opportunity.
So many instances can prompt the need to alter a visitation or custody arrangement, particularly as the child grows and his or her needs change.
A child's wish
Custody modifications, such as living arrangements, can also be changed at the request of the child. Because of a preference on location, school, relationship with the parent or other reason, teenagers may want to spend more time-or even live with-the other parent.
Such modifications can be done, however, courts use caution before agreeing to the modification making sure to examine all facts and whether the change is in the best interest of the child.
Whether it's a custody or child support modifications, the decision will always be based on individual circumstances. Parents who wish to make changes to an original family court arrangement are encouraged to seek the guidance of an attorney.