There are many times when a modification to a divorce decree may be required. Generally speaking, modifications are any changes that are made to the decree or to the parenting plan.

Typically, only the parenting plan or the child support amounts are modified. These modifications may happen for a variety of reasons. Such reasons may include a new job by one of the parties, new findings regarding income of one or both of the parties, specific medical requirements of one or more children in the parenting plan, etc.

Any time a change is made with the financial situation of one of the parties, modifications may be required. Both of the parent’s incomes would be added together and the combined amount would be considered the ‘net’ income. A chart is then used to determine the portion of each of the parent’s income that will be utilized for the support of each child from said relationship. The child support amount will then be determined based upon the percentages that each parent will pay toward supporting the child or children from the relationship. If there are extenuating circumstances, such as child care costs, medical expenses for a medically needy child or any other specific reason, those will also be factored in.

As these items change over the course of the child’s lifetime, the parenting plan and the child support plan may also be modified. These modifications allow for the factoring in of said changes so that the parents will be able to continue on in said fashion. For example, if a child is medically needy, he or she may also require specialized treatments or care during his or her lifetime and this may also cause the modifications to be needed for the parent with physical custody. Changes in expenses such as child care cost (the child either enters school or has to change daycares) will also be considered modifications.

There are many fine lines that must be considered when considering modifications in family law. Each state has slightly different requirements but all will require some form of child support. In order for a modification to go through the court system and be approved, there must be a ‘substantial’ change in the set of circumstances that are presented to the court in petition.

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