When Can I Change Child Support Or Modify Child Custody After A Divorce?
In this above video Patrick Copley talks briefly about the issue of post decree modification of a parenting plan and child support. As you might imagine many times after a divorce decree is entered, people live their lives and things change. The court will continue to have jurisdiction over the children in the divorce until the children are emancipated. Normally what that means is once they graduate from high school and are age 18. There are other ways that a child can become emancipated like if they get married or join the United States military but 95 times out of 100, it is going to be upon the child graduating from high school. Then in June of that year, they are emancipated. So, the court has power to change that parenting plan and residential custody schedule right up until that time. The court only has the power and jurisdiction to do that if there is a material change of circumstances.
When we are talking about a material change in circumstances, an few examples may be, If one parent is moving somewhere, whether it’s another place in the metropolitan area or somewhere else in the United States of America, that would be a material change of circumstances. If there is a new significant other of the father or the mother, that might be a material change of circumstances. I have seen something as simple as the child, who is under the jurisdiction of the court, when that child was 7 years old the parties got divorced, now the child is 14 and a freshman in high school and the child wants it changed, that can be deemed a material change of circumstance. It can be enough to bring the issue back before the judge who divorced the parties.
A material change of circumstances can be something that is heavily litigated, but more often than not, if it’s alleged and you have a competent lawyer involved a judge will determine there is a material change of circumstances and take a new look at the parenting plan and residential custody schedule or any other issues that are laid out in the parenting plan. As far as child support goes, if more than 3 years have passed since the child support order was entered, whether it was in the decree of divorce or maybe a subsequent order, if it is 3 years and 1 day a hearing officer will look at the child support worksheet brand new with new numbers. Then will enter whatever the child support should be entered moving forward. If it is within those 3 years, there must be a material change of circumstances.
What is a material change of circumstances when it comes to child support; that has been interpreted to mean a change in the child support obligations, whether increasing the payment or decreasing the payment of 10% or more? So, if you have a child support order entered a year ago, and you believe that because of a pay decrease on your end or a pay increase from your ex-spouse or maybe there is no longer work-related childcare expenses, and you want the court to take a look at possibly modify the amount that is being paid in child support. What you need to do is have a child support worksheet run and first make sure that it is going to increase or decrease the amount paid by 10% if it is within that 3-year window. Afterwards, a hearing officer in Johnson County will look at the numbers including gross income, health insurance premiums, work-related childcare cost and anything else and enter a new order for you. If you have questions about any of this, feel free to call one of the lawyers here at Copley Roth & Davies, LLC.
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