Divorce and family law cases are not like other legal problems, where you settle a dispute or adjust a claim and that’s the end of it. More often than not, a divorce case will establish continuing rights and obligations with respect to child support, alimony or parenting time. Because situations change, modification of a family court order is possible as is necessary.
If you need advice about the modification or enforcement of a family court order, discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney who emphasizes practical solutions over legal technicalities. Contact the law firm of John Bednarz, P.C., for a free initial consultation in Gilbert.
Modification Of Family Court Orders
Child support, custody, parenting time and spousal maintenance orders can all be modified after the divorce decree is final, but provisions regarding property division generally cannot be modified. In all modification actions, the party seeking modification must prove that the modification is justified and all of the conditions have been met.
Modifying Parenting Time Or Custody Orders?
Some orders can be modified at any time, while others are subject to time limits. For example, child custody orders cannot be modified for one year after entry, unless there is evidence that the child’s present environment seriously endangers the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health. A joint custody order can be modified six months after its entry if the other party is not following the joint custody plan, but domestic violence or spousal abuse can result in modification of the custody order at any time.
Child support modification can be ordered whenever there is a substantial and continuing change of circumstances which would result in the child support amount going up or down at least 15%. There is no waiting period. Spousal maintenance can be modified when there’s proof of a substantial and continuing change of circumstance, unless the decree provides that maintenance is non-modifiable.
These are the basic legal considerations. To find out whether your case involves changed circumstances sufficient to support the modification of an order for child support, custody or alimony, you should get the advice of an experienced lawyer who can tell you how a judge is likely to view the evidence.
Enforcing Spousal And Child Support Orders
If a person ordered to pay child support or spousal maintenance defaults on the obligation, the person entitled to payment can file an enforcement action for the past-due support and an order of contempt of court, which can result in an up to six-month term in the county jail.
Employed people found in contempt are released each day to work, but they’ll stay in jail until they’ve earned enough to meet the purge amount or the lump sum determined by the court that must be paid to cure the contempt of court order.
The threat of jail is usually pretty effective in getting a person to pay their support. If you’re the one facing the possibility of contempt, we’ll work first to negotiate a realistic way to catch up on your payments. If that fails, we’ll do everything possible to keep your purge amount as low as possible, or better yet, keep you out of jail altogether.
Contact Us Today
For sound advice on questions ranging from child support modification to alimony enforcement, call our Gilbert office at 480-507-6677 or use our online contact form to set up a free initial consultation.