Modifying Child Support, Alimony And Custody Orders

Either party can request that the court grant a change in a custody, child support or visitation order when there has been a substantial change in circumstances. In some instances, a party can also request a modification of spousal support if there is a substantial change in circumstances.

Such changes are known as modifications because they modify the current court order into a new order. Modifications may provide for increases or decreases in child support, adjustments to a visitation schedule and changes to custody. Substantial changes that can lead to a modification can include:

  • One parent changing jobs, with a corresponding change in income
  • One parent becoming ill or disabled
  • The child becoming ill or disabled or developing special needs
  • One parent needing to relocate
  • The death of one parent
  • The development of domestic violence in one of the custodial households

Local courts require that the parties attend mediation for custody and visitation modifications. If the parties are able to come to an agreement during mediation, the court will usually accept the result of the mediation. However, mediation will not address property or support issues; mediation is only for custody and visitation concerns. To learn how mediation works during post-judgment modifications for child custody or visitation, or to learn how modifications are established, contact Cullen, Murphy & Naples.

When A Parent's Circumstances Change, They May Be Able To Obtain A Modification Of The Original Court Order

In cases of child custody and child support modifications, the standard for approving the request for a change is the best interests of the child. Some mediators may interview an older child to determine how he or she feels about the proposed modification. However, most mediators try to keep children out of the process when they can.

Although it is possible to modify a spousal support order, the scope of the original alimony order can limit future changes. Consult a lawyer to learn whether the original alimony order includes a provision for modification.

Requests to move away or relocate can be the subject of modification petitions, as they usually affect child custody and visitation. Contact a family law attorney with experience with modifications of orders to learn if your desired change is one that the courts can consider. Call us at Cullen, Murphy & Naples in Riverside. We have a second office location in Temecula.