Post final decree modifications to a parenting time order, including child support, require a subsequent order from the Court unless the parties can agree to the change. Child support can be modified at any time but must be substantial and continuing so as to justify a change in the current child support order. Generally speaking, child support is very formulaic requiring only the parties’ gross incomes and a few other factors which when plugged into the statutory formula will provide a child support amount. Child support may not be waived and only with a good reason will a Court deviate from the formulaic amount. However, parties may have their incomes imputed to them (in cases where a party is voluntarily earning less than he or she is able). It is therefore important a child support lawyer looks at all of the factors involved to ensure the children are given the support to which they are entitled.
Similarly, a parenting plan can also be modified and parenting time increased or decreased subsequent to a Court’s final orders. However, depending upon the decree of change, the standard a Court will use to change a parenting plan will vary greatly. Parties should recognize that a Court gives very little weight to each of the parties’ desires, but rather will try to fashion an order that is in the children’s best interest. What is in the children’s best interest does not depend upon what either parent “wants.” Factors the Court uses are statutorily defined and must be presented to the Court as admissible evidence. Having a knowledgeable child support attorney in the Courtroom with you is imperative to get all of the evidence before the Court to make those changes necessary to modify an existing parenting plan.
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