• Summertime is Modification Time

Take Care of Child Changes When School’s Out

For lawyers, summertime means there’s going to be an increase of clients interested in modifying previous orders and agreements regarding their children.  When a child turns 18 and has graduated high school, the parent is no longer legally obligated to pay child support for that child unless there was some kind of specific term in their parenting plan or marital dissolution agreement extending the payments.  That extension most often applies to college tuition and expenses, but that would have had to been agreed to in the original settlement, and most cases don’t include specific college terms.

Parents also often wait to engage in any relocation plans for the child until school is out so they don’t interrupt the school year for their children when they need to move for a job.  Parents can sometimes get in disputes about relocation issues when one parent is moving far away from other and taking the children with them.  A parent that wishes to relocate with a child must give the other parent 60 days notice by certified mail stating their intent to move, where they’re moving, why they’re moving, and that the other parent has 30 days to file a petition with the court objecting to the proposed relocation.

These cases usually involve a temporary injunction from the court preventing the relocating parent from moving until a new parenting plan can be worked out in mediation or ordered by the judge after a hearing on the issues.  The main issues to be decided are will the child move with the relocating parent or will custody change to the parent staying in the area, what will the new visitation schedule be, and how will long distance transportation be provided for the child.

Parents may also choose to engage in a change of custody on their own because the child wants to go live with the other parent or there is a discipline or behavior problem with the child that requires a change of environment.  Children’s opinions about where they want to live are sometimes taken into consideration depending on their age.  Between 13 and 16 the child’s opinion may be considered by the judge depending on the maturity the child and facts involved, but usually a child’s opinion is not taken into account until they are 16 years old.

If you want to learn more about getting a change in custody or child support this summer, please contact the lawyers at Davis & Greene today and get answers to your questions.