What Constitutes A Substantial Change In Circumstance?

divorce lawyer Daniel ExnerQuestion:

What constitutes a substantial change in circumstance?

I had a child support order entered in December and barely three months later my ex-wife is trying to modify the support order citing a “substantial change in circumstances.”


I am not licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction, but I can provide you with a general answer to your divorce and child custody question.

The standard is purposely nebulous to give courts wide discretion, but generally, the term “substantial change in circumstances” requires that the facts on which the prior order was based differ from the present facts and the difference is enough to justify the court considering whether to modify the order.

A substantial change in circumstances can include a significant increase or decrease in income or expenses for either party. For instance, an individual may qualify for modification if he or she loses a job or becomes injured or infirm.

In your case, if the motion for modification only deals with support, the court will likely only review the financial circumstances between your order from December and the date your ex-wife filed her motion. Since it appears her motion was filed coextensively or shortly after your original child support hearing/order, it is unlikely that a substantial change exists.

To fully advise you on your situation, a complete understanding of your situation is necessary. I recommend contacting a family law attorney to review your case.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Milwaukee Divorce Lawyer Daniel Exner, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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2 years 6 months ago
change the lawWhile everyone can agree both parents should share the responsibility of raising a child to include that of costs, child support had become a massive income producing opportunity. Some parents have taken advantage without any penalties and enjoyed all the benefits. It’s time that some fairness be brought. I myself have supported my son for 18 years. Not one year have I been able to claim a tax credit for him, for 18 years I have given a substantial amount of my income to help raise him apart from birthday gifts, healthcare assists, the costs of raising my… Read more »