When Can You Get a Family Law Order Changed?
Often, even after a final order from a family law court, the case is not over. As circumstances change, the order of the court may no longer make any sense. Sometimes you need to go back to court and ask for a modification of the original order. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the modification process is not a chance to appeal because you did not like the first decision.
What Can Be Modified in the Order?
Many aspects of a family law order can be modified if there is a change in circumstances. Things like custody, parenting time, child support, and spousal maintenance payments can be modified. Courts will not usually modify a property division order. The only way to get a property order modified is to demonstrate that the other side hid assets or was dishonest, and even then the sometimes the court will refuse to allow a modification.
Parental Responsibility and Parenting Time Changes
Typically, you cannot seek a modification to a parental responsibility, formerly child custody, or parenting time order unless at least six months have passed since the last order was issued. This is to prevent people from running back to the courthouse the second a decision comes down that they do not like.
Before the court will hear your petition for a modification, you will have to demonstrate there has been a significant change in circumstances since the last order. You can only win your petition for a modification if you also show the changes you seek are in the best interest of the children.
Child support and spousal maintenance are usually based on a strict formula, or set of standardized guidelines. If there are significant changes in the amount of income in one or the other partners, a modification can be sought for the support order.
A judge does not always have to be involved in a child support modification. Sometimes, the Department of Health and Family Services' Child Support Division can handle modifications in the child support payment amount.
It is difficult to get an order on spousal maintenance changed. However, if the party making the payments experiences a significant change in income, or the party receiving payments experiences a sudden increase in income or assets, it is possible to petition for a modification. But, any changes will usually be made according to the statutory guidelines.
If you have questions about custody, support, or any other family law issue, you need to speak with an experienced Geneva family law attorney as soon as possible. Call 630-232-9700 today to schedule a consultation. You deserve to have someone in your corner, helping you protect your rights.