In general, courts will only grant changes if a family can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances, such as:
A few states allow children of a certain age to select which parent to live with (e.g., 14 years old in Georgia).
Some states impose time limits on amendments (with exceptions for extraordinary circumstances). For instance, Virginia courts will not change orders granted less than six months ago, whereas Illinois courts will not modify orders given more than two years ago.
If you file in the same county as your parenting plan was established, the court may assess a filing cost of up to $56. The filing cost may be as much as $260 if you file in a different county or under a different case number. In addition, there will be copying expenses and maybe fees for serving papers on the opposing parties. If you retain an attorney, you must pay legal fees and expenses.
If your child support payment is dependent on parenting time, the court will automatically modify it whenever new parenting time orders are issued.
Every state in the United States has child support enforcement programs that can assist with adjustments. Many of these models let parents occasionally request a recalculation of child support, for instance, every three years.
Otherwise, to alter child support, your family must have experienced a substantial financial shift. Some courts need a certain percentage decrease in a parent's income, while others require proof of an involuntary job loss. Some states also adjust child support if a child's medical expenditures exceed a specific threshold.
When a parent is not paying child support on time or on whole, the court may alter the order to withdraw payments automatically from the parent's wages.
When parents cannot reach an agreement, they go through a litigation process that culminates in a hearing where a judge (or court referee) decides on modifications. The court may allow the alterations sought by either parent, propose alternative modifications, or deny the amendments.
Many courts refer parents to mediation prior to the hearing to facilitate an agreement. The court might request an examination if a parent reports abuse or other safety concerns.
The waiting period for a modification hearing depends on the court's schedule and how requests are prioritized. Parents may be required to wait a few weeks or months, however, they may request an expedited hearing if their children are in imminent danger. While waiting, parents must follow the most recent instructions.
Both parents may present evidence during the hearing, which the court will evaluate with any evaluation findings. When children are old enough to comprehend the issue, the court also takes into account their choices, which they may express through written declarations, a counsel for the kid, a custody evaluator, or a private discussion with the judge. Rarely do children testify in court.
In certain states (such as Florida and Kentucky), the judge who issued the initial orders in a case also decides on modifications.