Modification of Support & Custody
Although courts implement custody and support arrangements with the best interests of the child in mind, unexpected difficulties or changes in circumstance may arise. For this reason, Wisconsin law provides for the modification of these orders. At Reddin & Singer, we focus on ensuring that our client’s custody arrangements are in his or her best interests and account for the changes that are a necessary part of life. Our child custody lawyers have over two decades of experience in petitioning for modifications in Milwaukee County and other Wisconsin courts and are available to assist you in this process.Modifying Custody Arrangements
Wisconsin family law strongly prioritizes the best interests of the child when making custody determinations. Courts attempt to provide children with the consistency and routine necessary to make them feel safe and supported. For this reason, they will generally refrain from modifying orders of legal custody or physical placement during the first two years of the order if the modification would significantly reduce the time that one parent has with a child. If a child is at risk of harm, however, an exception will be allowed. Additionally, if parents have substantially equal physical custody of a child, but it becomes impractical for one parent to fulfill his or her equal responsibilities, courts will consider modification before two years have passed if it is in the best interests of the child.
After the two-year period is completed, parents or custodial guardians may seek modification of legal or physical custody by filing a petition to modify the order. They will be required to show that the modification is in the best interests of the child and that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Wisconsin statutes expressly provide that a basic change in economic circumstances or marital status is not sufficient to meet the standard for modification.
It is important to note that a request for modification is typically required if a parent intends to move outside of Wisconsin with a child, or move to a location that is more than 150 miles away from the other parent. A court will consider whether the purpose of the move is reasonable, how it may disrupt the child’s relationship with the other parent, and whether alternative arrangements are available to ensure the child’s continued relationship with the other parent.Changing Child Support Orders
Parents may also seek modification of child support orders when there is a substantial change in circumstances. Unlike child custody modification, there are no time limitations on child support modifications, and they can be sought at any time. Support orders are typically reviewed every three years, or when a parent requests modification. During the review, both parents will be asked to provide current financial information and to substantiate any claim for a change in circumstances.
A substantial change in circumstances may arise when a child custody order is modified and the parent paying support becomes the custodial parent, when a medical issue arises, when a parent has a significant change in income such as a job loss, or when a parent is put in jail. Importantly, a voluntary change of job is insufficient to support a request for modification of child support. Wisconsin law has also determined that a duty to provide child support ends when a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school, so a child support order will be automatically terminated at that point.Consult a Child Custody Lawyer in Milwaukee
If you have recently experienced a substantial change in circumstances that requires you to modify your child’s custody arrangements or support order, it is very important that you contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Whether you are contemplating a move, suffering from job loss, or having difficulty with your current arrangement, the family law attorneys at Reddin & Singer are here to provide you with legal guidance. Attorney Terese Singer has helped countless individuals in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas through the modification process and can answer any questions you may have. For more information, contact us at (414) 271-6400 or online.