What Are Modifications in Family Law?

In the realm of family law, a significant portion of an attorney’s work involves handling modification cases. A modification case arises when parties who already have a court order seek to change certain aspects of that order.

This alteration could be prompted by various reasons, making modification cases more complex compared to initial court proceedings. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of modification cases and explore the factors that come into play.

What is a Modification Case?

A modification case occurs when one or both parties involved in a court order wish to make adjustments to the terms specified in that order. These changes are typically sought due to a substantial alteration in circumstances that have affected either the parties or the children involved. Such modifications commonly revolve around child support, custody, and parenting plans.

These cases are often more complex than initial court proceedings, as they require a demonstration of significant changes and a compelling argument for why the modification is in the best interest of the child. This requires an experienced attorney to advise you whether a case SHOULD be filed. You can spend thousands of attorneys fees on a modification just to end up where you started. So it’s important to consult with an attorney who will be honest with you about your chances of success. Whether it is related to child support or custody matters, modification cases demand a thorough understanding of the legal standards and processes involved.

Grounds for Modification of Custody, Visitation, or Support Orders

The general legal standard for modification cases revolves around demonstrating a substantial change that has had an impact on the parties or the children. Typically, this change relates to financial matters, such as a significant decrease in income due to job loss or increased expenses for the child’s welfare. However, other factors beyond financial circumstances can also lead to modification cases.

Child Support Modifications

In situations where there has been a notable change in income or expenses, a party may seek a modification to the child support order. For example, if a parent loses their job or incurs additional expenses related to the child’s healthcare or education, they can present these changes to the court and request an adjustment to the child support payments.

Child Custody Modifications

Modification cases involving child custody issues encompass a wide range of scenarios. One party may wish to relocate to a different state or even a distant location such as Alaska, which can significantly impact the existing custody arrangements. Alternatively, a party struggling with substance abuse issues, such as drug and alcohol problems, may prompt concerns about the child’s well-being. Additionally, if a child develops significant anger issues towards one parent, the custody order can be modified.

The Best Interest of the Child

In modification cases related to custody, the guiding principle for the court is determining the best interest of the child or children involved. The court assesses various factors, including the child’s emotional and physical well-being, stability, and the ability of each parent to meet their needs. If a party can demonstrate that the existing custody arrangement no longer serves the child’s best interest due to significant changes in circumstances, they can petition the court for alterations to the parenting plan and custody order.

Contact Edwards Family Law for Help With Your Modification Today

The process of seeking a modification can be legally intricate and emotionally challenging. The burden of proof rests on the party requesting the modification, who must provide sufficient evidence to support their claim of a substantial change warranting the alteration. This evidence may include financial documents, medical reports, testimonies, and other relevant information that can substantiate the need for modification.

At Edwards Family Law, we understand the emotional challenges involved and will work diligently to gather the necessary evidence to support your claim. Don’t navigate this difficult journey alone. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our attorneys, who can guide you through the process of seeking a modification.

Author Bio

Regina Edwards is the Owner and Managing Attorney of Edwards Family Law, an Atlanta family law and estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With more than 21 years of experience practicing law, she is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, legitimation, wills, trusts, probate, and Medicaid planning.

Regina received her Juris Doctor from the Tulane School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for six years, as well as being named among the Pro Bono All Stars by the Georgia Bar Journal in 2019.

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