Divorce decrees are final orders that must be followed by parties and often resolve custody arrangements, child support, property division, and alimony. Sometimes, however, situations change, and the parties must return to court because the divorce decree needs to be modified. Some of the common reasons for post-divorce modifications include changes to child support, parenting time/visitation and spousal support (also known as alimony).
If you find yourself in the position of being in a co-parenting relationship with your former spouse or another parent, but he or she is not upholding his or her responsibilities, it might be time to modify the divorce or custody decree. Similarly, if the parties have a change in financial circumstances, it might be time to modify child support or spousal support.
Modifications to Parenting Schedules and Custody Orders
As it relates to modifying custody or a residential parenting schedule, you must show that there has been a material change in circumstances affecting the best interests of the minor child(ren). It may be time to seek a modification if the other parent is:
A change in children’s age, for example from toddlers to adolescents, may also be a reason to change a parenting schedule. Parents that entered into a custody order when their child(ren) were very young may also have agreed that at a certain point, the agreement would have to be modified to suit the changing needs of a growing child. Once a Court has determined that a modification is in order, the Court will do a best interests analysis to determine what schedule is in the child(ren)’s best interests. For a discussion on such analysis, consult the custody lawyers Memphis, TN trusts at Patterson Bray today.
Modifications of Child Support
If the change that is necessary is a change in child support, you will need to show that a significant variance in the current child support order has occurred. A “significant variance” is defined by the Child Support Guidelines as a change between the original amount of support and the proposed amount that would be paid under a modified order. Tennessee defines a significant variance as at least a 15% change. Other issues that might make parents eligible for child support modification include:
If you have questions about child support or a modification of a current child support order, contact the child support attorneys Memphis, TN trusts at Patterson Bray.
Modification of Alimony or Spousal Support Obligations
In order to modify spousal support, you must have proof of a substantial and material change in circumstances since the decree was final. Once you have established a substantial and material change in circumstances, the Court must then consider what award of alimony, if any, is appropriate. If you have questions about alimony or a modification of spousal support, contact the family attorneys at Patterson Bray.
Using Mediation to Settle Modifications
If both parties agree, a modification can be settled quickly and without conflict through mediation. Mediation is a faster process than a drawn-out court battle, it is far more cost-effective, and it can help preserve the relationship. Typically, if you and the other party are both in agreement, then the mediated settlement agreement would simply be filed with the Court and no court appearance would be required.
It is vital that you work with a Memphis, TN divorce attorney right away when you are considering modifying a divorce decree, custody order, or child support or alimony obligation. Consult the Post-Divorce Modification Attorney Memphis, TN trusts at Patterson Bray to discuss your options.