So you received your Final Decree of Divorce, which sets out your child custody and support orders. You are certain that the matter is behind you for good, and there will not be any more disputes with your co-parent. It says right at the top of the decree that the order is “FINAL”. You may be in for a surprise.
Child custody orders are subject to continuing modification by the court until the youngest child turns eighteen and graduates from high school. That can be a long time. If there is a “material and substantial change” in the circumstances of either the parties and/or the child(ren), then the court retains jurisdiction of the child custody orders to make necessary changes to adapt to the change in circumstances. All issues related to the child remain on the table, including primary custody, possession schedule, child support and health insurance for the child.
The bar for going back to court to address such changes can be low. Many times, there is a legitimate need to return to court to address new and unforeseen issues that were not anticipated when the prior order was entered. Other times, it can feel like your co-parent is simply returning to court over and over, in an attempt to make your life difficult or to re-ask the court for things they were previously denied.
Our team has significant experience in dealing with modification requests, and the unique legal standards involved.
The Altman Legal team is ready to assist you – contact us.