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Altered Plans: Making Changes To Your Child Support And Custody Agreement

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If you and your spouse have managed to create a great divorce agreement that addresses every issue you can imagine, you may hope that you never need worry about it again. Some issues in the agreement, however, may require a revisit, especially issues that pertain to child custody and support. Any issue that involves a minor child in a divorce situation can always be brought before the courts again, since the family courts realize that changes may be needed to accommodate a growing child or the changing income and relationships of the parents. To learn more about how changes may be made to your child support, visitation, and custody arrangements, read on.

Motivating Issues and the Best Interest of the Child

The courts will only agree to hear a request for an alteration hearing if there is good cause. It's highly recommended that you look at the issue from the viewpoint of the family court and ask yourself: is this move in the best interest of the child? Using this edict, you can evaluate whether or not the alteration requested is more for the child, or for the parent. Some common reasons that could prompt a need for a change include:

Age of the child: Children naturally become more independent as they grow older, and the growing social lives and burgeoning after-school activity level could present a hurdle when trying to abide by previous child visitation agreements. Additionally, an older child may now have strong opinions on where they wish to spend their time, and some states allow children of a certain age to have a say in child custody and visitation arrangements.

Parental relationship changes: Sometimes a remarriage of one or both parents presents either a problem for abiding by visitation or a challenge to the current plan. For example, if the parent marries and moves away, visitation could become an issue

Drug or alcohol abuse, criminal acts, child abuse or domestic violence on the part of the parent. Exposure of a minor child to any unsafe or unlawful activities should prompt an emergency hearing request to make a needed change in custody or visitation arrangements.

Death, serious illness or incapacity of a parent.

Change in income: Child support is based on your state's median income and on the income of the parents, so permanent and considerable changes, either up or down, may prompt a recalculation of child support payments.

To make changes in your custody, visitation or child support agreement, contact your family law attorney.