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What To Know About Modifying Custody And Support Orders

Last updated on December 30, 2022

A family law court order has a sense of finality to it that, depending on your perspective, can either be reassuring or disheartening. While court orders for custody, child support and spousal maintenance do need to be followed, they are not necessarily permanent.

Minnesota law recognizes that families and circumstances change over time. If things change significantly enough, either party can petition the court to modify orders related to child custody and financial support. If you need to seek a modification, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney like those at Ed Shaw Law. Our attorneys bring more than 40 years of combined legal experience to each case and client.

How And Why Child Custody Orders May Be Modified

For the sake of stability, Minnesota courts are reluctant to change custody orders unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Usually, this must be a significant change in circumstances such that the original custody order no longer reflects the best interests of the child.

Examples of common reasons for seeking custody modifications include:

  • One parent’s need or desire to relocate a substantial distance away (with the children)
  • A major and long-term change in one parent’s work schedule that doesn’t allow them to adequately care for the kids much of the time
  • Alleging that the children are suffering harm or are in danger in their current environment due to abuse, neglect, or one parent’s substance abuse issues
  • A child’s needs have changed significantly in a manner that one of the parents cannot meet

It is important to note that Minnesota places limits on how soon and how often custody orders can be modified, except in cases where the children are in danger or when parents have reached an agreement on their own.

Depending on your position, our attorneys can help you petition the court to modify the custody order or seek to deny your co-parent’s modification request.

Modifying Child Support Orders As Financial Circumstances Change

Child support orders are based on a number of factors, including the income of each parent, how many children need support and the allocation of physical custody (how much time each parent spends with the children, usually measured by overnight stays).

Either parent can petition to modify the support order. The three most common allowable reasons for modification include:

  • A substantial increase or decrease in income (at least 20 percent) such that the current order is unfair or unsustainable
  • A substantial increase or decrease in child-related expenses
  • A significant change in the distribution of overnights with the children

We are ready to help you petition the court to modify the child support order or prevent modification, as needed. Even if you have managed to come to an agreement with your co-parent about the need to modify, it is still important to work with an attorney to have the modification formalized in court.

You May Have Options For Modifying Spousal Maintenance

Spousal support/maintenance awards are customized in terms of their amounts, purposes and duration. Modifications are sometimes possible, usually based on significant changes in either spouse’s income or expenses. Because these orders are highly customized, however, the best way to understand your options for modification is to discuss the details of your order with our attorneys.

Contact Us To Take Advantage Of A Free Initial Consultation

Ed Shaw Law has two convenient office locations in Brainerd and St. Cloud, and we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas. To learn how we can help you seek or attempt to prevent a change in your family law court orders, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. You can reach out online or call 800-507-0352.