A support or custody and visitation order addresses the facts and issues as they exist at the time it is signed by a judge. However, when circumstances change, the court order may also need to be changed. The law requires a “material change in circumstances” to modify a support or child custody or visitation order. Perhaps there is a change in income or employment, expenses, living arrangements, health or education circumstances, or other life-changing events. The law recognizes that some events are established as modifying events. A child may reach age 18 or graduate from high school, you or your spouse may reach “full retirement age” and be eligible for social security, or your spouse may remarry or live with someone for one year as though they are married. But don’t assume that you can make changes yourself; many changes in a court’s order need a judge’s approval.
Depending on the type of order, some changes can be deemed retroactive, but need to be addressed promptly. In support orders, arrearages can build up and a judge can have no power to address a debt accrued before a motion to amend is filed. Speak with an attorney at Stiles Ewing Powers PC about how to modify your existing court order to bring it up to date for your life today.