Child custody and support orders take current circumstances into consideration. In most cases, parents can't predict the future. This makes coming up with orders that will always apply impossible. Modification of child custody and support agreements is an important concept. These changes adjust the current order so that it is valid and addresses current challenges and circumstances.
#1: Significant circumstance changes are necessary
You can't request a modification of child custody or support just because you feel like it. Instead, specific significant circumstances changes must be present. Losing a job, getting a raise, moving out of the area and winning the lottery are examples of significant circumstance changes that can lead to a modification request.
#2: Quick action is crucial
Child support modifications aren't retroactive. Filing for the modification as soon as you know that your circumstances are changing in a way that requires child support modification helps you avoid having to pay the current amount for longer than necessary. This is especially important if you lost your job or took a pay cut. While the modification process is moving forward, continue to make your payments as best as you can to avoid more legal troubles.
#3: Modification might occur through mediation
You and your ex might be able to resolve a child custody or child support modification issue through mediation. This might enable you to resolve the issue faster than if you must wait on the court to resolve it. Modification mediation occurs in the same way as mediation for the initial child custody case. The agreement you come up with must get court approval and then becomes enforceable. It must meet requirements set forth by Tennessee laws.
#4: Documentation is often necessary
You may need documentation to prove the need for modification. Paycheck stubs, income statements, a layoff notice or other similar documents are examples of the ones you may need. You should find out what proofs are necessary so you can gather them as early in the case as possible. This gives you time to address any issues you might face.
#5: You must know your rights
Before you go through mediation or a trial, make sure you know your rights. You also need to find out your responsibilities. Having this information in advance can help to reduce your stress and ensure that you are prepared when it is time for you to a ct.