11 Sep O is for Orders: Can we change our orders without going to court?
This week we are up to O which stands for orders. When you go to court, the Judge will make orders regarding the custody of your children, the payment of support, and the division of your property. Some of the orders will last forever. For instance, an order that directs you to sale the family home is an order that will not need to be modified. It will just be followed. Orders concerning custody or support however may need to be modified at a future time. This article focuses on ways to modify your court orders.
Temporary Changes to the Custody Orders
In child custody matters, it is very difficult for a Judge to make an order that is going to work for your family 100% of the time and until your children are 18 years of age. Kids mature, parents move, kids develop new interests or new needs that must be accommodated. If the change is temporary, then the simplest way to approach the change is to contact the other parent and work out a temporary solution. You can do this without changing your custody orders. Often times, it is best to put the temporary changes in writing–for instance in an email–just so everyone is clear on what they have agreed to do and for how long. The actual court order remains the same, but you have an understanding that is in writing which can be used in court if needed to establish a temporary agreement was made. The temporary agreement can be withdrawn from at any time; however, so if you need to have the other parent legally bound by the agreement you will need to consider Modifying the Court Orders.
Modifying the Court Order by Agreement
Should an issue arise that involves a permanent change to the custody orders or a change to the child or spousal support orders, then you should modify the last court order to reflect the new orders. A modified order can be done by agreement or by filing a motion in court and asking the Judge to make a new ruling.
A modification done by agreement is called a Stipulated Order. You and the other side have a stipulated order prepared (by My Virtual Divorce, P.C.) and then you both sign off on the Stipulated Order to show the court that you wish to have the Judge make your agreement your new order. If you can’t agree to the change(s), then you will need to file a motion to modify the old order.
Modifying the Court Order by Motion
If you cannot agree to a modified order, but you need one because you cannot comply with the old order, especially if you cannot pay the child support or spousal support order, then you need to file a motion to modify the current order. Modifying orders can be complicated so it is wise to speak to an attorney before trying to file it yourself. You may very well be able to file the motion and appear on your own with little to no help from a professional, but the money spent planning before filing will be money well spent. The potential success of your motion can depend on the type of order you are trying to modify and the circumstances that created the need to make a change. By consulting with an attorney before to you file, you can decrease the chances that you will file a motion that will be denied or worse that you will file a motion that will affect your support in a negative way.
You can get the advice you need by scheduling a 15 or 30-minute Legal Advice Phone Call with one of our attorneys. We can review your facts and help you decide whether to move forward with your motion. If you decide to move forward, we will be here to guide you along the way.