Is it worth changing court orders?
We won't bury the lead. In the vast majority of cases it is absolute worth changing court orders. Here are reasons why.
Court cases always sound so dramatic on the news. We hear about so and so getting 20 years for a crime. Or we hear that pounding of the gavel in the movies. In reality, most things aren’t set in stone. Criminals get parole, everyday cases go to appeal, etc. What seems so definitive gets fluid pretty quick.
Orders that come down in the Family Law court are especially fluid. Because so much of what Family Court does revolve around children, as their needs change, so do court orders.
For example, let’s say a parent’s child custody has been stripped due to addiction or incarceration. If and when that biological parent takes the necessary steps to put their lives together, it is entirely possible that the court will return their parental custody rights.
Or on a much less dramatic scale, a divorce happens when two kids are 3 and 7. By the time those children are 10 and 14 their lives are very different. And so are their needs. School-related activities take up a ton of their time and their former custody arrangement simply no longer fits.
The intention of the court is to facilitate that which is in the best interest of the child. On the other hand, the court is busy and cannot separate the pots and pans of your divorce.
Modifying your Parenting Plan
This is the most straightforward modification to Family Court Orders. If you and your ex-spouse are in agreement, you can simply submit an amended parenting plan and submit it to the court for a Judge’s signature. Here are the detailed steps.
If you and your spouse or not in agreement, that will inevitably complicate things. Instead of submitting a form to have a Judge approve you will have to request a court date. And it’s best to reach out to your divorce attorney.
Child Support and Child Custody
Changes in child support and child custody are complicated. However just like the Parenting Plan above if you and your ex agree you can often submit an amendment for a Judge to approve. It’s important to note however that the court order isn’t valid until approved by a Judge. So do not agree to modify anything until you get the Judge’s approval.
In the case of child support you may or may not have to show a change in circumstances. For changes in child custody, it greatly depends on why the child custody was set up to begin with. For example, if a parent lost custody over abuse allegations this is not something the two parents can just decide on their own to overlook.
What if You Don’t Modify Court Orders
There are numerous cases of parents changing their court orders outside the court. And this is a mistake. Full stop.
The court’s intention is to protect your children. If you take less money than you have been ordered by the court, your children suffer by not having the funds. If you agree to allow your ex to visit the children when the court has stripped them of visitation, you are putting your children at risk.
There is no excuse for violating a court order. And if you are going outside your court order for any reason, even a good one, it is still a violation.
So we return to the question: Is it worth modifying a court order? Yes. It’s in the best interest of your children to always modify court orders within the court.