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Guide for Custody Modifications: When the Terms in a Court Order Are Outdated

Things have changed, but you’ve got a court order to follow. What happens now?

Maybe you got a new job (hooray!) or you’re moving. Maybe you’re getting remarried. There’s still that court order from your divorce hanging over your head. Sure, you could talk to your ex and verbally agree to make a few changes, but is that the best way to proceed? Not so fast.

When the court issued an order during your divorce, the intention was to ensure that you and/or your ex follow the agreement perfectly. However, family courts know that circumstances change. That’s why parents may petition the court to modify a child custody order if an aspect of their lives changes and the terms are no longer applicable or fair.

One might request an order modification to do the following:

  • Change custody and/or visitation rights
  • Increase or decrease child support
  • Change the amount of spousal support you or your ex pays
  • Terminate spousal support (if one party remarries)

All the above situations are related to financial changes. However, some parents have needed to modify a court order if their children are in danger, such as in abuse situations.

No matter which terms of the order are outdated, it’s important to go through the necessary steps to legally change them. It is suggested parents consult with a family lawyer in their area when they need assistance or advice regarding child custody or related modifications. This will help parents have confidence that when the court makes the proper modification, the new agreement is enforceable. Even if you’re on the best terms possible with your ex, making it clear and legal is best.

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