Although it may have been a struggle to get your child custody or child support agreements finalized, the fact remains that as circumstances in your life change, you will inevitably need to make post-judgment modifications to your child custody, visitation and support arrangements.
Below are four common reasons you or the other parent of your child may need to make modifications:
- Job loss: If you lost your job, money may be tight and it could become difficult to keep up with your child support obligations. Instead of taking the risk of falling behind, it's important to act quickly and modify your support arrangements. If you fail to make your payments, you could face fines or even jail time.
- Parental relocation: Parental relocation is one of the more common reasons people need to make post-judgment modifications. Whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent, a change in residence can have a serious impact on your parent-child relationship. You may need to adjust the amount of support you pay to make up for travel expenses. You may also need to change your visitation schedule from weekend visits to extended stays over holidays or school breaks.
- Disability, illness or injury: If you suffered a serious illness or injury, you may have trouble providing for your children. You may be hospitalized, require extended care, be forced to miss work, and ultimately need to make changes to your custody, visitation and support agreements.
- The child's needs change: As kids grow older, their needs inevitably change. They may require additional financial assistance to pay for extracurricular activities, school-related events and various other expenses that are part of growing up. If you are the noncustodial parent, you may be asked to help cover these expenses by paying additional child support.
There are numerous other reasons you may want to revisit your child support and child custody arrangements. Perhaps you suspect that the other parent of your child has received a substantial increase in his or her income and should be required to contribute more. Or maybe you suspect that the other parent of your child is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and may be putting your child at risk.
Regardless of the circumstances, it's better to explore options for making adjustments sooner rather than later. A lawyer can help you understand your options for making changes and guide you through the process. By working together, you and your attorney can better protect your child's best interests and ensure you are being treated fairly as a parent.