Your final decree should be a fair and clear representation of your family's situation after the end of the marriage. However, things change. People get married, lose a job, change residences, or just refuse to follow the court's orders. As your life changes, a modification and/or contempt action may be needed. You need an experience lawyer who can guide you through the modification and/or contempt process to find the best solution for you and your family.
I have helped many Alabama families in proceedings to obtain child custody and/or visitation modifications to act in the best interest of the child. Not every parent's ideas about child custody modifications are healthy ones. i will help to defend you and your child against unreasonable requests for custody changes.
If you believe you need to alter your child custody arrangements, you will need to prove to the court by clear and convincing evidence that there has been:
Ex parte McLendon sets the standard in modifying child custody after an original determination. The standard is: "The positive good brought about by the modification must more than offset the inherently disruptive effect caused by uprooting the child. The parent seeking the change must show not only that she is fit, but also that the change of custody materially promotes the child's best interest and welfare."
Significant change of circumstances beyond normal life changes include factors such as:
The court also pay attention to the child's preference for which parent he or she would like to live with. The older the child, the more weight is given to this factor by the court.
If there has been a change in income, loss of a job, or the non-custodial parent just is not paying child support, it may be time to go to the court for a modification or contempt. The standard in Alabama for child support modifications is similar to that of child custody. The party seeking a modification of child support must plead and prove that there has been a material change in circumstances that is substantial and continuing since the last order of support.
In Alabama, there is a rebuttable presumption that child support should be modified when the difference between the existing child support award and the amount determined by application of these guidelines varies more than ten percent, unless the variation is due to the fact that the existing child support award resulted from a rebuttal of the guidelines and there has been no change in circumstances since that existing order. The ten percent rule does not necessarily mean a judge will grant a modification. Whether or not to modify a child support order is within the judge's discretion..
When you need an attorney to help you with a matter relating to child custody modification, child support modification or contempt matters, look no further than Melissa Miller Law Firm, LLC. Based in Huntsville, Alabama, Melissa Miller Law Firm, LLC is on hand to help you understand your rights and provide you with the legal representation you need to protect them.
Contact us today for an initial consultation for your modification and/or contempt matter.