Steps To Take To Modify Child Custody Or Support
Sometimes circumstances can change after a child custody case or a divorce, and one or both of the parents may need to modify child custody or support. While it can often be easier to modify custody when the parents can reach an agreement with one another about modifications, it is certainly still possible to modify custody or support by petitioning the court, as well. If your circumstances have changed such that a modification is necessary, you should take the following steps with help from a. Kaye, Lembeck, Hitt and French family law attorney.
- Determine If a Modification is Necessary
First, you should determine whether an actual modification is necessary. Have the circumstances changed significantly such that a formal modification to the existing order is necessary? In some cases, a minor change in circumstances might not necessitate a modification to the child custody or support order, particularly if the change in circumstances is temporary. A Kaye, Lembeck, Hitt and French family law attorney can assess your case to determine whether you should move forward with a modification.
- Consider Working with the Child’s Other Parent to Make Changes
If you need to modify child custody, it is easier if the other parent agrees. As such, if you are on relatively good co-parenting terms with your ex, it can be helpful to discuss and hopefully agree to changes to the existing child custody arrangement. Yet even if you reach an agreement with the other parent, you should still have the modification formalized by the court.
- Gather Evidence of a Change in Circumstances
If you cannot reach an agreement with the other parent or need to modify support due to a change in circumstance, you should gather evidence that supports the fact that there has been a material change in circumstance necessitating a modification to the child custody or support order. For example, you might gather evidence that shows you lost your job, that your income changed, that you became disabled, that your former spouse’s income has substantially changed, or that the parenting schedule that you have actually been following is different from what is in your prior order.
- File a Modification Petition with the Court
Next, you will file a Petition for Change of Custody and/or Child Support, which will require you to provide information to the court, including details about the material change in circumstances.
- Ensure That the Court Order is Modified So That It Can Be Enforced
Regardless of whether you and the child’s other parent are able to reach an agreement about modifying child custody, or you must petition the court to make a modification when the other parent disagrees, it is critical to be sure that the court order has actually been modified. Even if you are currently on good terms with your ex and you are communicating well as co-parents, circumstances could always change, and you ultimately may need to ask the court to enforce the order. You will only be able to have a child custody or support order enforced if it is an official court order. To be clear, a side arrangement you make with the child’s other parent cannot be enforced by the court. Child custody and monthly child support can only be modified with a court order.
Contact a Kaye Lembeck Hitt and French Lawyer for Assistance
If you need assistance modifying a child custody or support order, one of our Kaye, Lembeck, Hitt and French family law attorneys can help. We provide a wide variety of family law services in the Atlanta area, and we routinely represent parents in child custody and support matters. Contact Kaye, Lembeck, Hitt & French to speak with one of our family lawyers.