Once a court establishes an order regarding child custody rights or child support obligations, that order remains in effect and legally enforceable until its prescribed expiration date or modification by the court. However, if you want to convince a court that a change to such an order is warranted, you generally must show that a continuing and substantial change in circumstances has made the old order completely unworkable or unable to serve its intended purpose.
In light of that, assistance from a Prescott child custody & child support modification lawyer is often crucial to achieving a positive resolution to this kind of petition. These claims can require significant and varied evidence of a dramatic change in your life, and you may have a challenging time collecting and effectively presenting that evidence without a qualified family attorney’s support.
According to Arizona Revised Statutes §25-411, no one subject to a child custody order may seek a modification of that order before at least one year has passed following its initial imposition. Additionally, one parent’s absence due to military deployment or other mandatory military service cannot serve as valid grounds for a modification to a custody order by itself.
Generally, someone who wants to have a custody order changed based on a qualifying change in circumstances must file a Petition for Modification of Parenting Time and present evidence during a subsequent hearing justifying their petition. A Prescott child custody modification attorney could offer further guidance about the documentation that should accompany this petition and evidence that may be relevant during a custody modification hearing.
Alternatively, if one party to an existing custody order is convicted of domestic violence, child molestation, or any dangerous crime against children, courts have the authority to issue emergency modification orders that can alter or eliminate that party’s parenting time. Emergency orders may also be implemented based on reasonable allegations by one parent that the other presents an imminent risk of serious harm to their child or children.
As per A.R.S. §25-327, if a person who owes or is owed child support sustains a significant and continuing change in their income due to circumstances like a job loss, newfound disability or medical condition, or incarceration following criminal conviction, either party to the applicable child support order may submit a Request for Modification Review seeking an increase or decrease in their obligations or those of the other parent. Notably, courts have the authority to reject these requests if they determine that a change in income was voluntary in nature. For instance, if a party seeking a reduction in support obligations intentionally took a lower-paying job in an attempt to artificially lower their income.
In addition, the Arizona Court of Appeals recently ruled that parties to a child support order do not have to expressly request a modification to that order for a judge to modify child support obligations based on a related modification to a child custody order. A child support modification lawyer in Prescott could discuss in more detail how this legal precedent could possibly impact a particular petition.
While it is not impossible to modify a court order regarding child custody or financial support, it is rarely an easy goal to accomplish. Courts are generally hesitant to modify these orders unless presented with compelling evidence that doing so would serve the best interests of the child.
Fortunately, help is available from a dedicated Prescott child custody & child support modification lawyer who knows how to handle cases like yours efficiently and effectively. Call today to schedule a consultation.
Willison Law, PC
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