What should I do to show that I have grounds for modification?

Question: I need to know the process of starting a modification to my custody agreement and child support amount. I got divorced 2 years ago and have since remarried and am due to have a new baby. I cannot afford to continue to pay the amount of child support I pay. I agreed to an amount that would help my ex pay for my child’s school which she no longer has to pay for and my custody agreement doesn’t allow me to be able to spend time with my daughter. What should I do to show that I have grounds for modification?



Answer: You should contact a domestic litigation attorney right away.  I do not practice in Missouri but we have many lawyers who are licensed and located in Missouri who would be able to help you.

Requests to modify an Order determining custody, placement and support are made by filing a motion to the court.  You must review the terms of your current placement and support arrangements to determine whether or not you are able to seek a modification.  In addition, the specific requirements of the laws of your state as to timelines and criteria for reviews would need to be reviewed as well.  

You should certainly consult an attorney regarding your placement rights.Have you had any contact with your childIf the mother is not refusing contact, you should be sure to actively pursue involvement in your child’s life.It is much more difficult to argue for placement when a parent has had no contact with a child for two years.You need to have an argument that it is in your child’s best interest to have placement with you.

Many states require a showing of a substantial change in circumstances prior to modifying a support order.This could include a substantial change in income of the payor; for better or for worse.However, in many jurisdictions, the Court does not consider the birth of a new child to be a substantial change in circumstances.Rather, the court will continue to apply the child support guidelines to your gross monthly income.This is because the previous children still require the same amount of support regardless of whether there is another child.Many states have serial payor statutes. However, such statutes only affect subsequent orders of support, not the original order for support.Because each state varies, you should contact an attorney licensed in Missouri.


Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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