Birmingham Modifications Lawyer
Post-Divorce Modifications of Custody and Support In Jefferson County & Surrounding Areas
In a divorce where the couple shares minor children, the court will make orders regarding how the parents will share custody of the children and how much child support the non-custodial parent will have to pay. Alabama divorces also frequently include an award of alimony (spousal support) paid by one of the former spouses to the other, either for a set period or indefinitely.
These orders are included in the final divorce decree and are meant to be final court orders unless they are appealed. But what if circumstances later change, and the custody arrangement is no longer practical, or support is inadequate or no longer needed? Either party can go back to court and ask the judge to modify a court order.
If you or your former spouse are seeking a post-divorce modification, Birmingham modifications lawyer Candi Peeples or her associates can advise you and represent you, making sure your rights are protected and helping you achieve a positive outcome whether you are the one seeking or opposing the modification. Contact Peeples Law to share your concerns about a potential modification of an Alabama court order for child custody, child support or alimony.
Modification of Child Support in Alabama
Alabama courts use a set of guidelines in state law when calculating child support, although judges are allowed to deviate from the guidelines amount by agreement of the parents or in the best interest of the children. These same guidelines are also used for periodic updates to the amount of support the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay to the parent with sole or primary custody.
Before the courts will modify an order for child support, they must be convinced of a material change in circumstances that is both substantial and continuing to justify a modification. If a party can show a 10% difference between the current order and the updated guideline amount, the judge presumes this is a material change, absent a rebuttal from the other parent. The cost of healthcare or health insurance for a child is another reason that can justify a child support modification.
Even if the moving party proves a material change in circumstances, the judge can still deny the requested modification if to grant it would be unjust or inequitable. Whether seeking or opposing a modification of child support in Alabama, smart and strong legal representation can be key to your success.
Child Custody Modifications, Relocations and Move-Aways
A stable home is a virtue in Alabama family law, and courts take a strict view when a parent wants to modify the child custody plan. Not only must the parent prove a material change in circumstances, but the parent must also prove the modification will be in the child’s best interests and any disruption caused by a custodial change would be offset by the benefits.
Justifying a change in custody in Alabama can be a tough standard to meet. However, courts do approve changes in custody when convinced the change is for the better. Situations likely to be approved for a custody modification include:
- Parental neglect is endangering the child’s welfare
- The current custody arrangement is endangering the child because of alcohol, drugs or domestic violence
- A parent accepts a new job that doesn’t work with the existing custody plan
- The non-custodial parent has made strides toward rehabilitation or increased earning power and is ready to take on a more substantial co-parenting role
- One of the parents is looking to move out of state or a long distance in-state
Any parental relocation must comply with Alabama’s Relocation Act, formally known as the Parent-Child Relationship Protection Act. Under this law, if a parent intends on moving a distance greater than 60 miles from the other parent, the moving parent must give the other parent at least 45 days notice, including the intended new address, phone number, new school, details about the home, the reasons behind the move, and a proposed revision to the custody plan. The other parent must also be informed they have 30 days to object.
If the non-custodial parent does object, the court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the move and how to modify the custody plan in the child’s best interest. The younger the child, the greater the burden on the moving parent to prove the move is in the child’s best interests.
Alimony Modification in Alabama
The court can modify alimony based on a material change in circumstances, such as a change (up or down) in either party’s finances, employment status, or health. The paying party could also ask the court to end alimony early if the party receiving alimony dies, remarries or moves in with a romantic partner.
Birmingham Family Law Modifications Lawyer
If you are seeking or opposing modification of a family law court order for child custody, child support or alimony call Peeples Law in Birmingham at 205-403-5577 for practical advice and professional assistance from a skilled and experienced Alabama family law attorney.