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Custody

Modifying Orders in Parenting Cases

Parenting time orders almost always need modification. Circumstances change as the children get older or as parents moved to new locations. Parenting time order that doesn’t need modification at some point, are rare.  Modifying orders is a common feature of parenting time cases. 

Parenting time orders are designed around the circumstances at that time. Occasionally, parties are able to negotiate orders that contemplate future circumstances. But judges don’t have that same ability. Existing circumstances limit what a judge can do. 

Modifying Parts of Orders

You can modify any provision in a parenting time order. As children get older, modification of parenting time is common.  Also, if a parent moves, schedules may be unworkable and require modification. 

Decision making responsibility is much harder to modify than a schedule, but courts will still do it under certain circumstances.  Typically, the burden is much higher to modifying orders concerning a parent’s right to participate in the decision about their kids. 

Child support is also modifiable based on changed circumstances.  In fact, it’s common for parents to need a modification as their careers change or develop. 

How To Modify

There are a few different ways of accomplishing modification.  First, the parties can work out a modification, write it up and submitted to the judge for review and approval.  This is the preferred way of modifying order since it develops cooperating, conserves resources and saves time. 

Second, parents can mediate their modification.  You can mediate with or without lawyers.  A private mediator will work with both sides to try and find a solution.  If mediation is successful, an agreement is written up and filed with the court for approval by the judge. 

Finally, if all else fails, the parents may file a motion with the court asking the court to modify the order.  The court will most likely set a hearing months down the road, to hear the evidence and issue a new order. 

Posted April 18, 2019
by: MFL Team


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