Coeur d’Alene Attorney for Enforcement and Modification of Orders
Can Divorce and Child Custody Orders Be Modified?
As our circumstances in life change, it may become necessary to have a child custody order altered. It could also be necessary to have a divorce order altered, although changes to asset divisions are relatively rare. If there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of either party, he or she may file for a modification.
There may also be an issue of enforcement. One party may not be following the judge’s orders, in which case you may need to get the courts involved again. Having a Coeur d’Alene court order modification attorney by your side can make a huge difference in the outcome of your enforcement or modification issue.
While changes to such issues as child custody, child support, or maintenance (spousal support) can be relatively simple when both parties agree, the issue becomes much more complex when one party is against a modification. In most cases, both parties will not agree, and the issue will end up before a judge. With an office located in Coeur d’Alene, our firm serves all of Kootenai County.
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Why Choose a Coeur d’Alene Court Order Modification Attorney from Crouse Erickson?
If you need a modification of a court order, or you need to enforce a court order, you could benefit greatly from speaking to Crouse Erickson Family Law Attorneys. We can guide you through the steps you need to take to force compliance or file a motion for a modification of a prior order. Our highly experienced attorneys will help you through either process in the best way possible.
We engage in intense case preparation and are an extremely client-centric law firm. We are always prepared for anything that may arise in your case because we put in long hours to provide the high-quality work necessary to make your case successful. Across our firm, we have worked with thousands of clients throughout our 30 years of practicing family law. We will handle manners as amicably as possible, as we are highly skilled negotiators.
We are also aggressive litigators when necessary and will never hesitate to step into a courtroom on your behalf. While many other law firms dabble in other types of law, we exclusively practice family law. We have an intricate knowledge of Idaho family law, as well as the resources necessary to provide you with the high-quality, highly personalized representation you need.
Which Family Law Orders Can Potentially Be Modified?
If you need a child custody order modified, you will have to change your Idaho parenting plan or custody order by filing a petition to modify a custody order. There must be a material change in circumstances to be successful in a modification petition. A “substantial and material” change of circumstances is a broad term, meaning there has been a major change that is impacting or will impact one or both parents or the child. The parent seeking the modification must prove to the court that change will be in the best interests of the child and that the change of circumstances exists. Some examples would be:
- One parent moving to another state
- A parent facing a significant prison term
- A child reaching school age
- A child that would benefit from an educational program in another state
- The loss of employment
- Obtaining a job that required significant travel
- A long-term illness on the part of either parent or the child
There are many things that could be considered a substantial and material change of circumstances; the court is primarily concerned with party’s litigating a parenting plan or custody order simply because they do not like it, they just want to harass the other parent, or the order or plan was unfavorable to them. In particular, if a parent wants to make a major move that would significantly disrupt the time the other parent has with the child, that move would definitely need the court’s permission. In general, the state of Idaho will not agree to a parental move if that move will negatively impact the time spent with the other parent.
If you are seeking to modify a child support order because of remarriage, that fact, in and of itself, will not affect child support. In fact, when one parent remarries, the court can consider the new spouse’s income when determining whether child support should be increased. Idaho is a community property state making a new spouse’s income part of the parent’s available funds to pay child support.
When a parent remarries and has another child or children, that parent may believe this is sufficient reason to lower his or her child support. The courts will not modify a child support order for a parent that has more children after the child support order was put into place. The court operates under the theory that the financial needs of a first family take precedence over those of a second (or third) family.
The courts also believe that the needs of the child come before the needs of the parents. When a judge is determining an amount for child support, a parent’s prior alimony and child support obligations can be taken into consideration. To receive a modification of child support it must be shown that:
- There has been at least a 10 percent increase in the income of either parent.
- An involuntary 10 percent decrease in the income of either parent has occurred.
- One parent has suffered the loss of a job through no fault of his or her own.
- There has been a significant increase in the child’s expenses. This increase may be related to age, education, or medical needs.
Modifications to spousal support, known as maintenance in Idaho, are possible if the requesting spouse can show a substantial and material change of circumstances since the last order. However, in some cases, a spouse may agree during the divorce that the award of maintenance is non-modifiable. If this is the case, the court will reject the request for review. Like child support, the spouse seeking a change in maintenance must be able to prove there has been a significant increase or decrease in income or the paying spouse lost his or her job.
Generally speaking, the division of assets in the final divorce decree cannot be modified. The only exceptions to that might be if one spouse hid assets during the divorce, and the other spouse just found out about it, or if other material misrepresentations were made to the court at the time of the divorce.
Is There Any Enforcement Related to Divorce and Child Custody Orders?
If your ex is not following custody orders, you may have to return to court to remedy the situation. Perhaps your ex keeps your child overnight despite a court order stating this is not allowed or chronically picks up the child late or returns him or her back to you later than agreed. Your first step will be to have your attorney send a letter to your ex, informing them that they must obey the court order or may face serious legal penalties. Sometimes, this action will be enough. If it is not, you may either request mediation services, ask the judge to make changes to the custody order, or file a motion for contempt of court. It is imperative that you document every single time a custody order is broken by your ex, with dates and times, as well as witness names if there were witnesses.
If your spouse refuses to pay your court-ordered maintenance, a judge could find him or her in contempt of court. The judge will order the paying spouse to pay the money owed and may even fine them for the refusal to pay. In more extreme cases, the judge may issue a writ of execution, allowing law enforcement to seize the property of your ex, equal to what you are owed. The court may award you part of your ex’s bank account, property, or other assets. The court may also issue an order requiring your ex-spouse’s employer to withhold a portion of his or her salary, sending it directly to you.
There are numerous methods in the state of Idaho for obtaining child support that has not been paid. Most commonly, a withholding order is used, meaning if the paying parent falls even one- month behind, automatic withholding kicks in, and the payment is deducted from the paying parent’s monthly paycheck. The court can also garnish wages, intercept a state or federal tax return, suspend the parent’s driver’s license, report the delinquent child support to credit bureaus, file lien on the parent’s home, and more.
How Can an Attorney Help if My Former Spouse is Not Following Through on a Court Order?
Virtually everything associated with your ex-spouse’s failure to follow through with a court order will require court intervention. Having an experienced family law attorney that knows the best course of action to ensure court orders are being properly followed can be invaluable. Your attorney will know what to file and which court to file in. He or she can also answer any questions you may have regarding the enforcement of a court order.
How Can a Coeur d’Alene Court Order Modification Attorney from Crouse Erickson Help Me?
At Crouse Erickson Family Law Attorneys, our goal is always to secure the most favorable outcome on your behalf. When you are not receiving what you were granted in the divorce or child custody case, we will aggressively pursue enforcement. We will work hard during the original matter to ensure you do not have to consider enforcement procedures as we spell out in the original orders what will happen if your ex fails to follow the judge’s orders. With an office located in Coeur d’Alene, our firm serves all of Kootenai County.
This helps ensure your ex will comply with the orders—and if he or she does not, the consequences are clear. We will also help you modify an existing order if your circumstances have substantially changed. Crouse Erickson attorneys have the experience, compassion, and knowledge to help you through enforcement and modification issues. Contact Crouse Erickson Family Law Attorneys today.