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October 14th / Family Law jasco no comments   1

Modification of Orders

In family law cases, the court often retains jurisdiction of the case for many years to come. This means either party may be able to request a change in a family law order. This can be helpful when major life changes occur, making the previous order unrealistic, ineffective or questionable. Our experienced Murfreesboro family law attorneys at Dotson & Taylor, Attorneys at Law carefully explain when a modification may be possible, and how this can affect your family law case.

Types of cases and issues that can be modified

There are many types of family law cases that can be modified after a “final” decree is entered, including the following:

  • Child support Child support is dependent on the incomes of the parents. If there is a change in income, a modification of a child support order may be warranted.

  • Child custody – Changes may have occurred in the primary residential parent’s life or the child’s life that justify revisiting the issue of child custody. The other parent may request a change in child custody.

  • Parenting time – One or both parents may wish to change the allocation of parenting time due to the change in parents’ schedules, the child’s needs or other reasons.

  • Spousal support – The ability of a spouse to continue paying spousal support may decrease over time or due to an unexpected event.

What must be proven to modify an order?

For many issues, the party moving to change the order must be able to show that there has been a “material change in circumstances” that justifies changing the most recent order. If there is no significant change, judges generally prefer to maintain the status quo and avoid having one more case on their already flooded dockets.

Some reasons that may provide the grounds to modify a family court order include:

  • Change in the parent’s employment or income – These changes may justify a change in the amount of child support or spousal support to be paid. They may also affect the availability of the parent for custody and parenting time.

  • Relocation – A parent may move, which may make an existing parenting time allocation or custody order ineffective. Additionally, school schedules or summer plans may change, leading to the need for a modification of the court order.

  • Parental unfitness – A parent may be arrested, involved in bad relationships, lack stability or have other changes in his or her life. Child custody decisions are made by considering what is in the child’s best interests. If the primary custodial parent or other parent is not acting in a manner suitable to provide a safe and stable environment, a change in custody or parenting time may be requested.

  • Financial changes – Other financial changes such as going from working to retirement, becoming disabled, changing jobs, increased living expenses or additional children to support may provide a basis to change an existing court order.

  • Remarriage – If one of the spouses remarries, this may provide grounds to terminate spousal support.

Contact our compassionate Middle Tennessee family lawyers for guidance you can trust

The Murfreesboro family law attorneys at Dotson & Taylor, Attorneys at Law know family situations often change, which may require the court order to change along with it. If you have experienced a significant change in your life or notice one in the life of the other party, our family attorneys can help. We provide free initial consultations to discuss how we may be able to better serve your family’s needs. Contact us online or call us at 615-890-1982 to schedule a complimentary consultation with a compassionate family law attorney.