For many parents, the new school year means new schedules and sometimes adjustments to custody or visitation orders. With many schools operating online or in a hybrid setting, many parents are questioning if their existing orders need to be modified. The answer depends on the current orders and your child’s needs. For example, existing orders that specify pick-up or drop-off at school can be modified so that parents keep the same pick-up or drop-off time but find an alternate location, such as a parent’s house or other safe location, if both parents can agree. Further, custody and visitation orders are legally enforceable, and if a parent fails to comply with orders, they risk being sanctioned or held in contempt of court. Thus, if you and your co-parent can’t agree on how to adapt to existing orders or have a significant change of circumstances it may be necessary to modify your orders. It is important to remember that changes brought by COVID-19 and Shelter at Home orders, or a change in school operations, does not override existing visitation orders, nor does it relieve a parent from their obligations.
In addition to reviewing custody or visitation orders, many parents are unsure if they need to modify their support orders. If your income has been affected by the pandemic, you should file for a modification of child or spousal support. It is imperative you file for a modification as soon as possible to preserve retroactivity. This means that once you file, you can request that the Judge order the support modification to be retroactive to the date you filed for modification. With many hearings delayed and some family law departments calendaring hearings as far out as 2021, filing a modification as soon as your circumstances change could save you a significant amount of money.
If you need to modify support or custody and visitation orders, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the process to protect your children and your rights. The attorneys at The Reape-Rickett Law Firm are ready to help you, contact us today at (888) 851-1611. Learn more about child custody and visitation here or for additional information about modifying support, read our recent article Don’t Wait to File a Modification of Support.