Often times the circumstances surrounding the agreements made at the time of your divorce do not remain the same indefinitely. This is especially the case when children are involved.
There are specific time limits that must be followed in order to modify your Divorce or Paternity Judgment accurately. A final judgment may be modified for different reasons at different times. A “final judgment,” for the purposes of requesting a modification, in a divorce proceeding includes the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment of Divorce and a Marital Settlement Agreement. For a paternity case, it includes the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment of Paternity.
If you want to modify custody (decision-making rights) and physical placement for your child and it is within two years of the final judgment on your paternity or divorce case, you will need to file a Motion to Modify with the court, and it is your burden to show by substantial evidence that the current custody and physical placement is harmful to the physically or emotionally harmful to the best interest of the child.
After two years has passed from the final judgment, you can file a Motion to Modify with the court if there has been a substantial change of circumstances since the entry of the last order affecting legal custody or the last order substantially affecting physical placement , and modifying the current order is in the best interest of the child.
A “substantial change of circumstance” can include, but is not limited to: a considerable change in either spouse’s income or employment status, a new health problem which impacts the ability to work, moving to a new location, and substance abuse problems or criminal activity.
If your final judgment is no longer current and new circumstances warrant a modification, please contact Nelson, Krueger and Millenbach, LLC, to discuss your case with an experienced family law attorney.