Circumstances can change for divorced parents, making court-ordered child support orders and parenting plans difficult or impossible to maintain. If you are a parent in the Greater Spokane Area who is facing such a situation, your best option is to enlist the services of a competent family law attorney who has experience handling this type of case.
At Twyford Law Office:
Our attorneys have successfully represented clients for decades in all types of family law matters, including highly contested and high-asset cases.
We strive to resolve all family law issues in the most efficient way possible, such as through skilled negotiation.
As experienced trial lawyers, we are not afraid to aggressively seek what is best for our clients and their children in court.
No matter what type of situation you may be in relating to modifying your parenting plan or child support, we have the ability and resources to help.
Call our office at (509) 327-0777 or contact us online for a free consultation about your case.
Modifications to Existing Parenting Plans
A parent who wishes to modify a current parenting plan must prove that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred which makes the modification necessary. The change must be in the best interests of the child. For significant changes, the parent seeking the modification must request and appear at a hearing. At the hearing, both parents are allowed to make their case in support of or in opposition to the proposed change.
Courts will generally allow a modification to a parenting plan if:
Both parties agree to it
The custodial parent has allowed the child to live with the other parent for a significant amount of time which is not per the current plan
The child’s current environment under the existing plan is unsafe and could result in harm
The other parent has been held in contempt of court for violating the current plan or has been convicted of interference in the current plan
When an ex-spouse requests a parenting plan modification in bad faith, the court may order that they pay the attorney’s fees and court costs for the other party. However, failing to demonstrate adequate cause on its own is not considered bad faith.
Modifications to Child Support
Modifications to child support (26.09.170) may also be sought when significant changes in circumstances have occurred for one or both parents. Examples of circumstantial changes may include:
Changes in income
Changes in the health of a child
Change in primary custody
Changes in a parenting plan that result in the child spending more time with a parent than previously
A parent had another child
Increase in childcare costs or education costs
One parent is in jail
Any change that affects any of the factors used to calculate child support
As children get older, their needs change, which can lead to a substantial change in the parents’ expenses. Depending on the circumstances, this could be enough to trigger a child support modification. Whatever the reason for the proposed change, the reasons behind the request must be legitimate. For instance, the court will not approve a reduction in child support if the support payor is deliberately unemployed or underemployed. Additionally, even when future child support payments are modified, any unpaid child support from the non-custodial spouse cannot be decreased or increased.
Modifications to Spousal Support
Spousal support can be modified by either party. Typically, one party either requests more support or asks to pay less. The payor may no longer have the means to continue the payments. Or, the lower-earning spouse’s financial situation may have improved since the order was made. Parties may additionally seek to modify the duration of support or request to terminate it altogether. In contrast, the custodial spouse may seek additional spousal support or an extended period of support. Factors that can modify spousal support include:
Change in income, such as a job loss or a promotion
Loss of a home
Change in child’s living arrangement
Increase in the cost of living
Receipt of a large inheritance or payout by the supporting party
The dependent party remarries or lives with another adult
An injury or illness which changes financial circumstances
Both parties are in agreement to change the order for any reason of their choosing
While these are some of the most commonly cited changed circumstances that often call for a modification of spousal support, for a better understanding of whether or not your specific circumstances warrant a spousal support/maintenance modification, speak with an attorney.
Why You Need A Lawyer For Modifications Of Prior Orders
If you want to know if your situation would merit a change in a prior court order, it is best to have your cased evaluated by a knowledgeable and experienced Spokane modifications lawyer. They will then be able to tell you whether or not it is in your best interest to pursue a change. Like other family law-related matters, modifications can be realized without the need for court hearings and trials through mediation, arbitration, and the collaborative law process. These options are often less expensive than going to court and a strong advocate negotiating on your behalf will likely be effective in having your matters resolved in a timely manner.
A divorce attorney will also recognize that sometimes going to court and getting in front of a judge is the only way modifications of court orders and other family law-related matters will be settled. In such a situation, you will already have hired a skilled lawyer who will be ready to assist you in the courtroom.
Consult a Dedicated Spokane Modifications Attorney
Our firm has concentrated on family law for decades, which gives us an edge when it comes to handling your case. We strive to produce the results you seek but will always give you honest communication as to what to expect. Our goal is excellence in legal service, and that is what you can expect from our Spokane divorce attorneys. Get the help you need today by calling Twyford Law Office at (509) 327-0777.