In most Virginia Family Law cases, after a hearing or after the parties reach an agreement, the Judge will issue a “Court Order”. This Order will contains terms and conditions the parties are obligated to follow. However, even with consent agreements (where the parties agreed to the terms of the Order), as time passes or circumstances change, the Order may not be acceptable to one or all of the individuals affected. This is why the legislature and the Courts allow the parties to file motions to file for a modification of most Court Orders.
Richmond Family Law Attorneys:
Modification of Orders is usually common in child custody, visitation and support cases, as well as in spousal support cases. In these cases, the Courts will generally require the party who has filed a motion to change the existing Order to prove that there has been a “material change in circumstances”. In custody and visitation cases, the Court will also need to determine, if there has been a material change, that a change in the Order is in the child’s best interest.
What changes might warrant modification of an order?
Child Custody and Visitation Modification in Virginia:
An infinite number of circumstances exist that might warrant a change in your current child custody and visitation order. In our experience, here are some of the more common reasons that parents file motions to amend orders in Virginia child custody and visitation cases:
- Illness: a parent gets sick and their illness prevents them from being the caretaker
- Child’s wish: a child wishes to spend more or less time with a particular parent
- School: often times when a child reaches school age, an order that did not contemplate a new schedule for the schoolbound child needs to be changed
- Relocation: a parent has already, or desires to relocate to a different residence that is closer/farther away from the other parent
- New Significant Other: one parent is concerned with the romantic partner of the other parent
- Substance Abuse: one parent is concerned about the alcohol or drug use of the other
- Criminal Charges: charges and/or incarceration can obviously warrant a change in the order
- Financial Problems: financial difficulties affect stability of a particular parent and can often be a basis for a motion to modify
- Child abuse or Child Neglect: a parent is found to have abused or neglected their child
Child Support and Spousal Support Modification in Virginia
Support orders are probably modified more often than any other type of order. This is because there are a large number of common occurrences that might also be used as a basis to modify a child support or spousal support order, such as:
- Promotion or Wage Increase
- Losing a Job or Wage Decrease
- Getting a Job
- Changes in Work Hours
- Changes in Custody and Visitation Order
- Changes in Health Insurance Expense
- Changes in Daycare Expense
- Changes in Orders for Other Children of Either Parent
- Either Parent has New Children
- Children’s Age / Termination of Support: see Va. Code Section 20-124.2
- Change in Monthly Expenses
- Spousal Support statutory bases for termination: see Va. Code Section 20-109
*Note: the aforementioned list of reasons that people may choose to file to amend custody, visitation and support orders, is not intended to lead you to conclude that a Judge will modify your order if any of these things have occurred. A Judge may or may not change the order based on their analysis of the circumstances.
If you believe that your Virginia Court Order should be modified, contact a family law attorney at BoykoNapier today at (804) 658-3418 or via email.