Sometimes, things don’t work out like you thought they would. We can plan and plan, but reality just doesn’t match what we thought would happen.

When this happens after a divorce or child custody case, you often have to change around your divorce decree or child custody order.

Maybe instead of sharing 50/50 parent-time, your ex has pawned the kids off on your 90% of the time, but he’s still paying no child support. That situation is begging for a change.

Maybe your ex is in a violent new relationship and you need the kids with you the vast majority of the time. Something has to change.

Petition to Modify

In situation like those above (and a thousand other situations), you’ll need to file a petition to modify.

A petition to modify is nothing more than a request to change your decree or order.

The how-to of a petition to modify is pretty simple. First, you tell the Court what your decree or order says right now.Second, you tell the Court the specific changes you want to make. Third, you tell the Court the changes that have occurred that make those changes necessary.

(There’s slightly more to it than that — there’s always more to it when lawyers are involved — but that’s the gist of things.)

It’s important to keep in mind that filing a petition to modify is the first step in the process of changing your decree or order. Unless there is an emergency situation, step two in the process is usually mediation.

If mediation doesn’t work, then you may need a custody evaluation (if you are requesting a change in custody), you may move on to trial.

(Click on the following link for for a map of the petition to modify process: Flat Fee Flow Chart.pdf.)

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