My parenting plan is missing many important details that my ex is taking advantage of, such as trying to delegate which weekday evenings I get to see my kids.
Additionally, the child support and alimony I pay are not based on the current situation, as I work less overtime to see the kids more and my ex is now voluntarily unemployed.
Are these reasons enough to modify the agreement?
Where I practice in Pennsylvania, it is common to find custody agreements that are incorporated into a final divorce decree.
When the divorce decree is entered, that custody agreement becomes an order as well as the controlling document regarding physical and legal custody of the child. These orders can control the visitation schedule and what parent gets the children on a given day.
Yet these orders are not always perfect. You can often find child custody orders that were not properly drafted or, due to a change in circumstances, require some alteration.
One alternative is to work with the other parent and see if you can amend the custody order without court intervention. This option may be controlled by the existing custody order, however.
Another alternative is to ask the court to step in and change the order. Even if the custody order was reached by agreement of the parents, the provisions concerning custody or visitation can be subject to change by the court.
In order to have the court change the order, a parent must file the appropriate petition and show changed circumstances. More often than not, these changes in circumstances must be significant in nature.
Also in Pennsylvania, it is common to find changed circumstances in income for someone who is ordered to pay support. This change may alter the amount of child and/or spousal support that the obligated party must pay.
To modify a child and/or spousal support order, one can file a proper petition with the court asking for a modification. The filing party has to show there is a material change in the financial status of the parties.
Loss of employment or a decrease in salary may constitute such a material change. Moreover, if a party purposefully does not work and therefore has no salary for the court to consider, the court may assign an earned income to that individual based off of factors such as her employment history.
Due to the multi-faceted aspects of your situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction, such as Cordell & Cordell, to see how your state’s laws can help you with this serious situation.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than general divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”