When Can I Change Child Custody or Support
Child custody and child support can be modified after divorce if your circumstances change. For example, if an older child wishes to live with a different parent, the court can order a change in child custody as well as a change in child support based on the custody change.
I am Eileen Agnes, a family law attorney serving clients in Framingham and the Metro West area of Massachusetts. If you need a modification of child custody or support, I offer a free initial consultation to discuss the rules and the process.
Changing Child Custody
The court will consider the best interests of the child in determining whether to change child custody and visitation. Here are some examples:
- If the child is old enough to state a preference, the court may consider the child's wishes.
- If a parent has an issue with drugs, alcohol or mental health that is not being addressed, the court may change custody or require supervised visitation.
- If a parent with primary physical custody wishes to remove a child from Massachusetts, he or she must obtain approval from the other parent or the court.
- If a child is not doing well at school or home and the problem is the home environment, the court may order a change in custody.
Changing Child Support
If your income increases or decreases after divorce or your spouses income increases or decreases after divorce, the amount of child support you pay can be increased or decreased accordingly. For example, if you lose your job or take a lower paying job, your child support payments can be reduced. If you get a higher paying job, your spouse can request that child support be increased.
If you need to reduce or increase child support payments, it's important to contact a lawyer and obtain a court-ordered modification. If you stop paying child support or reduce payments without a court order, you could face a contempt proceeding. There are new child support guidelines in Massachusetts that may support a change in child support.
Free Lawyer Consultation
If you have questions about child custody or support modifications, I offer a free initial consultation at my law office in Framingham. To schedule an appointment with me, attorney Eileen Agnes, call 508.879.9876 or fill out the contact form on this Web site.