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How do I change my court order?

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How do I change my court order?
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How do I change my court order?
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Reviewed: 
March 1, 2021
Answer

As of March 1, 2021, the term custody has changed to decision-making responsibility. And in most situations, the term access has changed to parenting time. Now, all parents usually have parenting time.

Also, a person who isn’t a parent or step-parent may get a contact order to spend time with a child. For example a grandparent can get this order.

You or your partner may want or need to change your final court order because of changes to your situation. For example:

  • Your child's living arrangements have changed.
  • Your child has new medical needs.
  • Your child has new education needs.
  • Either you or your partner would like to move.
  • Your partner is self-sufficient and spousal support should end.
  • You have the right to spend time with your child but your partner is not allowing you to see your child.
  • Your partner makes more money and you want them to pay more child support.
  • Your child finishes school, marries, or moves out on their own.
  • Your child is working full-time.

It can be difficult to get along with your partner. Small issues can build up and make you want to change your court order. Think carefully about what issues you want to take to court.

For example, it's best not to go to court for things like who has to wash your child's clothes after they spent time with your partner or because your partner isn't always on time. Try to find another way to resolve these issues that can save you time and money.

You should first see what your court order says you have to do if one of you wants to change it. For example, it might say that you have to try mediation before going to court. Even if your court order doesn't say this, you must think about trying an alternative dispute resolution process (ADR) or a family dispute resolution process to resolve your issues out of court if it’s suitable for you. ADR might not be right for you if:

  • one person is afraid of another person because there is a history of family violence
  • there are serious mental health or drug abuse issues

If you and your partner cannot agree, you may have to go to court and bring a motion to change.

To change child support, check to see if there has been a change to table support or to special and extraordinary expenses.

To change spousal support, decision-making responsibility, or parenting time, check to see if there's been a material change in circumstances. This means your situation has changed so much that your court order or separation agreement needs to be changed. Decision-making responsibility and parenting time used to be called custody and access.

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