Family Law - Modifications

One thing is certain. Circumstances change.

Signing DocumentChildren grow, start or leave school, people get laid off or obtain their degrees, they remarry, move, lose their jobs, and win the lottery. A Court order cannot predict all circumstances for every possible situation, but until it is officially changed by an amended order, it must be obeyed.

After a Decree of Divorce or an Order of Paternity has been entered a party can ask to change the final order of the court by filing a Petition to Modify in District Court. The request must be based upon a "substantial change in circumstances" that was not contemplated at the time of entry of the court's order or decree.

Material changes in circumstances must be substantial and permanent. This means it cannot be simply temporary, and must be significant. Those can be tough hurdles to overcome as the court does not take those requirements lightly.

Typical issues that parties seek to modify include parent time arrangements, legal and/or physical custody, alimony and child support to name the most common. These requests may arise as a result of parental interference, a relocation, a parent or ex-spouse's cohabitation, changes in jobs and/or income, break downs in communication or co-parenting abilities, or changes that affect the best interests of the children.

It is always better to get your divorce or paternity matter taken care of by experts that can help you cover things that you may not be able to anticipate as pitfalls in the future. However, in the event you find that you are living under a court order that is simply not workable or not in yours and/or your children's best interest, it is imperative to have counsel that is on your team and can be your zealous advocate to assist you in modify your order.

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