Changes to Your Support or Child Custody
There are often child support and custody orders made at the beginning of a divorce or parentage case. Spousal support can also be ordered at the start of a divorce.
These initial orders specify details for child support, spousal support, child custody, and visitation but are considered “temporary.” Custody and support orders often end up in a divorce decree, or a judge can make orders after a trial. Orders in a divorce decree or a trial decision are not temporary but are also not necessarily permanent. Many of these orders can be modified.
When parents are unhappy with their custody or visitation orders, they can seek modifications of the custody orders. In California, parents must go to a court-provided mediator to work out their differences before seeing a judge. If parents can’t agree to mediation, the matter will go in front of a judge to decide the best interests of the child.
Child support can be modified after showing a change in circumstances. If a parent gets a promotion or loses a job, for example, or the amount of time a parent spends with the child increases or decreases significantly, the court can change the child support amount to account for those changes.
In order to modify spousal support after a divorce decree is entered, the couple usually has to agree to the change or go to an “evidentiary hearing,” which is a short trial where testimony and evidence are presented to a judge regarding various factors related to spousal support.
There is no calculator for alimony after a divorce decree has been entered, so the judge has to review information to try to make a fair ruling based on the information he or she receives. The judge can reduce, increase, or leave the orders the same based on the information presented at the evidentiary hearing. These types of hearings typically involve many complex areas of law.
Temporary Emergency Orders
A court can grant temporary orders on an emergency basis. Whether it is a change to an existing order or you need a new order, there is a way to get into court in just a few days. An emergency must exist that might mean permanent harm to a person or financial situation, such as child abuse or the other party has cashed out a retirement plan without permission.
It is important to speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney who can explain what can and cannot be taken to court in an emergency. These temporary arrangements can be a means of ensuring the safety of the children until parents can go to mediation or that the financial situation stays the same until the property is divided.