Modifications to Child Support and Maintenance
Once your dissolution of marriage or paternity order is entered, portions of the order may be subject to modification in the future if circumstances change. For example, legal and physical custody orders and child support orders are generally subject to modification.
Maintenance orders are also subject to modification under some circumstances.
If you believe circumstances have changed in your life such that your current orders should be changed, please give us a call to discuss the details of your situation and whether a modification proceeding, whether through mediation, the collaborative process or litigation, is advisable.
MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT
When there is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, modification of your financial arrangements with respect to your children may be appropriate. These can be changes such as a change in the incomes of the parents or the needs of the child. If the physical custody schedule has changed, this can also at times make revision of the support arrangements appropriate. A change in the law, or in the Form 14 child support chart calculations may also at times make modification of child support orders appropriate.
MODIFICATION OF CUSTODY
Physical and Legal custody arrangements are subject to modification if this is in the best interest of the children. Many times, parents who are cooperating informally adjust their parenting schedules as is appropriate, as their children grow and their needs changes. If disagreements arise however, it can be necessary to make the changes more formally. Custody modifications can be negotiated through mediation or a collaborative process or at times litigation is required. If a parent is relocating his/her residence this can result in difficult custody modification negotiations. Prompt consultation with your attorney is recommended to determine the best past of relocation of a parent is being considered.
MODIFICATION OF MAINTENANCE
While most maintenance awards end on the remarriage of the party receiving maintenance, a maintenance award may or may not be modifiable, depending on the terms that were negotiated in the dissolution of marriage proceeding. If your maintenance award is subject to modification it can be changed if circumstances have changed in a manner that makes the prior award no longer reasonable. The increased income of the spouse receiving maintenance, or the decreased income of the spouse paying maintenance, whether due to an involuntary job loss or voluntary retirement at retirement age, are circumstances that may make modification of maintenance appropriate. Unlike child support, there is not a “chart” for maintenance and all of the financial circumstances of the parties are considered in the maintenance modification proceeding.