Most people breathe a sigh of relief once their divorce is finalized. Certainly, a divorce can be one of the most stressful times in your life. While you may think that the challenging part is behind you, that may not be the case. A situation may arise in which one party might want to seek changes to the child custody or support agreement in the court order. When someone wants to make a modification to the agreement, it is a good idea to talk to an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.
What are Some Reasons for Modifications?
A change to a parenting agreement in a divorce order is called a modification. A party may want to get a modification for a number of reasons. If you are out of work or have taken a cut in pay, you may feel as though the child support payment is too high. If you cannot make payments, it is best to seek a court-ordered modification rather than risk getting behind. On the flip side, if you find that your spouse is making a lot more money now than at the time of the divorce, you might feel that he or she should pay more in child support. Another reason to seek a change may be if one parent wants to move out of state.
How to Make a Modification
It is important to know that you cannot just take it upon yourself to make changes to a parenting plan or custody order. The only way to make legal changes is to go through the family court system. You must qualify for a modification. The court does not consider non-essential needs. According to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, in order to seek a modification, there must be a significant change in circumstances that warrants review by a judge. You must request a hearing at which time both parents have an opportunity to present their situation. Speak with a qualified family law attorney to learn whether your case meets the criteria to request a change through the court.
Do Not Take Matters into Your Own Hands
Remember that the parenting plan and support orders are legally binding orders. You cannot disregard the orders and make changes on your own, even if the other party agrees. Keep in mind that even if the other parent agrees to the change now, they could end up going to court if they dispute the changes later. For example, if you are having trouble making child support payments, your former spouse might agree to accept lower payments. However, this could end up backfiring because legally you could be held responsible for payments you missed. Keep in mind that you cannot keep the children from visiting with the other parent even if they are not making the required support payments.
Child support and custody issues can be complicated and may continue throughout the time when the child is a minor. There are often going to be disputes, but if you need to make a change to the agreement, it is best to go through the courts. To learn more about child custody or support modifications, contact our legal team. Contact Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. online or call us today at (608) 784-8310 to request a consultation.