Modification of either Custody/Parenting time or Child Support needs to be done through the Court. The burden is on the party requesting the modification to show that a “substantial and continuing change” has occurred justifying such a modification.
With respect to child support, the term “substantial” means that the total child support obligation would change by more than 15%. The term “continuing” is undefined, but a parent requesting modification should be aware that a loss of employment does not necessarily constitute a “continuing change” in circumstances. Rather, a change in employment resulting in an increase or decrease that affects child support by more than 15% would constitute a continuing change. A modification of parenting time may also result in a change in the child support obligation. However, modification of child support will only revert back to the first day of the month following the date of filing the Petition to Modify. Any parent who believes that a substantial and continuing change has occurred that would result in the ability to modify child support, should consult with an experienced family law attorney before filing with the Court.
Modification of Custody cannot be requested in less than one year from the previous order unless there is a belief that the current order may seriously endanger the child’s mental, physical or emotional well being. A parent may also ask the Court for a modification of custody after six months if the other parent is not following the current order. Again, the requesting parent must be able to show that a “substantial and continuing change” in circumstances has occurred (since the last order), that warrants modification.
When requesting a change in custody there are several requirements that must be adhered to. Any parent contemplating a request to change custody should consult with an experienced family law attorney before doing so.
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