In a modification of an existing custody or parenting time order, the party seeking the modification has the burden of proving that a material change in circumstances has occurred since the entry of the last order or decree. If a material change is shown, the court will evaluate the individual facts and circumstances of the case and determine if modification is in the best interests of the child(ren).
Typical events leading to post-decree modification include:
- A parent's work schedule changes, making an adjustment in a parenting time schedule necessary if the parent is to continue to have substantial time with the child;
- The child's development indicates that it would be to the child's benefit to spend more time with one parent than what the current child custody decree provides;
- The child has reached an age where the court will take into consideration the child's preference as far as living arrangements;
- A change in one parent's income indicates a material change in child support;
- Parental relocation out of state necessitates an adjustment in the terms of joint custody or visitation schedules;
- The primary custodial parent wants to relocate out of state with the child, and the other parent objects to removal of the child from the jurisdiction; or
- A change in the circumstances of an ex-spouse indicates a change in alimony/spousal support.
It is always best to try and resolve these types of issues through mediation and negotiation. However, Vervaecke Law & Mediation prepares every case for trial and is fully prepared to litigate if necessary.