Child Support Modification

Divorce and Family Law

Post-Decree Modifications

IT IS SOMETIMES NECESSARY TO MODIFY a prior court order in family law cases. There may need to be a change because the order does not work anymore, or maybe your ex is not holding up their end of the agreement. It may also be a situation where the needs of the child have changed.

The most common modifications are for custody, visitation, spousal support, and child support. It is possible to modify prior orders from both the domestic relations court, which handles divorce, dissolution, and legal separation, and also the juvenile court, which handles cases involving non-married couples.

In order to file a motion to modify a previous court order usually you have to show that there has been a sufficient change in circumstances since you were last in court to warrant the change. The reason for this requirement is so that people are not filing for any minor reason thereby inundating the courts with too many cases. Modifications can also be done an agreed basis by the parties, which in some cases can avoid the need for a hearing.

Types Of Changes In Circumstances

FOR SUPPORT ISSUES the most common changes include changes in income of one or both parties. This can be an increase or decrease. There could also be a change in health insurance or daycare expenses as well. You will need to show that there has been a change that would affect the child support payment up or down by at least 10%. The child support guideline worksheet can be run with the current information to see if this 10% threshold has been met.

CUSTODY, PARENTING TIME, AND VISITATION issues also have various changes in circumstances which can occur. The burden is on the parent who wants the change to show that a change in circumstance has occurred.

Changes in circumstance can vary among the different court districts depending on the case law which provides precedent. There is not much mention in the Ohio Revised Code regarding changes in circumstances. Some of the more common changes in circumstances include relocation of a parent, difficulty of the child in school or home life, changes in work schedules, changes in health condition of a parent or child, criminal convictions or drug use by a parent, and other issues that arise which would be detrimental to the best interests of the child.

In agreed modification cases, which include agreed changes in custody or residential parent status under a shared parenting plan, the court would still need to find that this change is in the best interests of the child.