If there have been significant changes in circumstances since the entry of the last order or judgment in your case, then you may be able to seek modification by the court of the last order or judgment. Generally, in order for the court to be allowed to modify a prior order, there must be a “material change in circumstance”.
For example, if you were ordered to pay alimony or child support and your income has decreased significantly, the other party’s income has increased significantly, then the court may modify the amount of alimony or child support previously awarded.
Likewise, if you have a child support order and your child’s expenses and needs have changed significantly (such as work-related childcare, extraordinary medical expenses, or tutoring or other special educational needs), then the court may modify the amount of child support.
Furthermore, custody of children (both legal and physical/residential custody and visitation/access/parenting time) is also modifiable in the event of a material change in circumstance. If a material change in circumstance exists, then the court can consider whether a change in custody is in the child’s best interests.
Whether a significant change in circumstance is “material” will depend upon the unique facts of each case. Material changes in circumstance may include the relocation of a parent’s residence, changes in a child’s preference, or changes in a parent’s fitness or ability to parent.
At Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills, LLP, we have experience in assisting clients to assess a potential modification and assist clients in navigating that modification.