Generally, Child Custody, Visitation, and Child Support Orders may be modified by a Court of competent jurisdiction upon a showing of a material change in circumstance. While other factors affect the outcome, the first factor is proving the change in circumstance. If Courts allowed litigants to modify orders where there was no change in circumstance, litigation would never end.
Spousal support may also be modifiable; however, it depends on the language in the last order. Usually, a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court’s spousal support order is modifiable. Circuit Court Orders depend on whether the Court ordered the spousal support after a hearing or whether the parties reached an agreement. If they reached an agreement, the agreement itself will help to determine its modifiability.
Case law continues to affect what exactly constitutes a material change in circumstance. Some examples of what may constitute a change for child custody and visitation could be a parent convicted of a serious crime, a parent planning to move to another location, or a parent no longer being capable of caring for a minor child. An example of a material change in circumstance for a child support order could be that a parent has lost a job due to no fault of his/her own or a parent’s income has increased substantially. A change in custody may also be a material change for purposes of modification of child support.
Spousal support may also be modifiable; however, this is a very delicate legal issue and would depend on whether or not a court ordered the support and whether parties agreed to spousal support stating that it is modifiable.
If you need assistance modifying a Court Order, call us at 804.717.1969.