Once you have finalized your divorce in Tennessee, you are issued a final order by the court. This order typically specifies the terms of your separation. Either spouse can revisit these orders at a later time to request a modification of the final order. Some orders that can be modified are child support, spousal support, visitation, or custody, as well as the living location of the children.
Successfully modifying the amount of child or spousal support depends upon the recipient’s ability to prove significant variance in means since the order was established. In order to ensure your best chance of a successful modification request, it is imperative that you hire an attorney from Griffin & Davis, PLLC to represent you in court.
Parts Of The Divorce Order That Can Be Modified
Alimony: Ongoing issues with alimony payments can be grounds to request a modification in the amount. If there is a substantial change in an obligator’s income, they can file for a modification to their payment. A party must be able to prove that the amount ordered for support will adversely affect their ability to pay. Additionally, an obligatory may be able to file for a modification if the recipient spouse is remarried. This can also be done when they are living with another party outside of the divorce.
Child Support: If the paying parent has a 15% change in income they can file for a modification in the amount of child support they pay. This pertains to increases and decreases of 15%. In addition to a change in income, a change in child expenses can prompt a change in child support as well. Quite often, children join educational or extracurricular programs, or child care, that results in additional costs for them to attend. Parents are able to ask the court to have the paying parent cover half of the expenses.
Custody or Visitation: In divorce cases, judges often set custody and visitation schedules in the child’s best interests. If a parent willfully denies visitations, they can lose custody of the child. Alternatively, a parent that refuses to pick up their child during scheduled visits can lose their right to see them. If a parent does not engage in their scheduled visitations, this can result in them owning a higher amount of child support as well.
Relocation: If a parent decides to move over 100 miles from the other parent the court is able to deny the children being relocated. However, this can only be done if the moving parent failed to given proper notification and consent. It is crucial for any parent considering a move to consult with an attorney prior to doing so. Moving over 100 miles away can have a serious impact on a custody and visitation schedule. For example, this can result in changing schools. All of the move-away factors are taken into consideration when determining if the children are permitted to move.
The attorneys of Griffin & Davis, PLLC are dedicated to assisting clients with all of their divorce decree modification needs. Filing a petition for modification does not have to be a difficult and lengthy process. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation to review what options are available for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Alimony Modifications In Tennessee
After a divorce is finalized in Tennessee, either party can file for a modification or termination of an alimony order. Several factors are taken into consideration when determining if a modification or termination request is justified. Generally, a modification request will require a change in circumstance that warrants the request.
Here are some of the most common questions surrounding alimony modifications in Tennessee.
What Are Substantial And Material Changes In Circumstance?
Tennessee law requires a showing of a substantial and material change in circumstance in order to grant a modification request. A party must show that the material changes are unforeseeable, unanticipated, and were not within the parties’ contemplation at the time of the decree. This generally means that it could not have been a known change at the time of the divorce order. To be considered substantial, the change must have a significant impact on an obligator’s ability to pay or the recipient’s need for support.
How Much Will The Modification Amount Be?
There is no way to determine how much an alimony order will change ahead of a hearing. Generally, factors like the earning capacity, obligation, needs, and resources of both parties are taken into consideration. These and other factors are generally used when determining the amount of alimony awarded during the divorce hearing. Once substantial and material changes are proven, the court will consider to what extent these changes impact an obligatory and/or recipient.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support Modifications In Tennessee
Child support modification requests can happen at any time after a divorce, so long as certain circumstances are present. Parents often have questions about the child support modification process and the requirements for filing. Some of the most common questions are:
When Can I File A Request To Modify Child Support?
After a divorce decree is issued, either party can file for a request to modify the child support order in their case. In order to qualify for a modification in the amount ordered, either party must prove a significant variance in their earnings. Under Tennessee law, a change in 15%, whether it is an increase or decrease, often warrants the ability to modify support.
A change in income is generally the cause of most modification requests. However, there are other circumstances that can warrant a modification request. If a child is now attending daycare or a private school, the custodial parent often requests a modification to order the parent paying child support to cover half of these expenses.
Additionally, parents that do not comply with their custody schedule can be liable for an increased amount of child support. When a child support order is determined, it takes into consideration the amount of time a child spends with each parent. If there is a change in the amount of time, it can result in one parent paying more to raise the child.
Are Child Support Modifications Retroactive?
Child support modifications are not retroactive. Typically, the order amount is set for the date in which the modification petition was filed. Under some circumstances, an arrearage amount may be reduced if both parents are able to negotiate the amount and if a parent qualifies for a reduction.
Are Hardships Exemptions Considered In Modifying Child Support?
Yes. Hardships exemptions are considered under Tennessee law when a request to modify child support is filed. This exemption allows a court to prevent any modification of child support that would reduce the amount paid if the court determines that the change would negatively impact the child. It is crucial to speak with an attorney regarding hardship exemptions and how they may impact your ability to modify your child support order. Contact the attorneys at Griffin & Davis, PLLC right away to get your questions answered.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody Modifications In Tennessee
Under certain circumstances, a parent is able to file for a change in child custody. This type of modification is generally granted if a parent can show a change in circumstances that impacts the child’s best interests.
Here are some frequently asked questions about child custody modifications.
When Can My Child Decide Who They Want To Live With?
At no point is a child granted the ability to decide who they want to live with. With that being said, courts throughout the state do place a high consideration on what children prefer. Generally, a child must be twelve years of age in order to achieve reasonable preference under Tennessee law. Children under twelve can be heard, but listening to them is optional for the judge. Preference is one factor that is taken into consideration when determining the child’s best interests.
Is Custody Interference Grounds For A Modification?
One parent refusing to allow the other to follow the custody order is illegal. This can be considered grounds for a custody modification. Parents that intentionally interfere with a child’s right to spend time with their other parent are not doing so in the child’s best interest. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence among heavily contested divorces. When a person continues to interfere with custody and visitation schedules, it is important to keep a detailed record of each occurrence. This information is extremely helpful in supporting your modification request. It is clear that interfering with a custody and visitation schedule is not generally in the child’s best interests. Nevertheless, requesting a custody modification for this reason alone is quite difficult to do. Consult with an experienced family law attorney in order to achieve the outcome you desire.
Hiring An Attorney Will Make The Modification Process Easier For You
We strive to provide clients with the best service imaginable, especially in divorce modifications. Seeking a change in custody, visitation, support, or moving can be stressful for someone to do alone. We work diligently to help clients obtain the results they desire in their case. We directly service Sparta, Kingston, Crossville, and Cookeville with offices in each. Our attorneys also handle matters in the surrounding regions. Contact Griffin & Davis, PLLC at 931-837-2050 or 865-354-3333 so that we can take the burden off of you and get the best results possible in court.