Family Law Attorney in Jackson Guiding You Through the Modification Process
- Modification of Child Custody - Typically, a noncustodial parent seeking to modify custody must satisfy a two part test to be successful in a custody modification action. Jackson family law attorney M. Devin Whitt is familiar with this test. First, the parent must prove that:
- a "material change of circumstances" has occurred in the home of the custodial parent that "adversely affects the child". Once this standard is met, the parent seeking modification must then demonstrate that:
- a change in custody is in the “best interests of the child”, as determined by application of the Albright factors discussed in the page on child custody
Both standards must be satisfied before a court will determine a change of custody appropriate under Mississippi law. In Mississippi, modifications have been approved in a variety of situations where a custodial parent's conduct creates a dangerous and/or inappropriate environment for the child, the child is exposed to dangerous behavior, or there is proof that the custodial parent is providing inadequate care.
- Modification of Visitation - To modify the visitation provisions of an order, a petitioner must show that "the current visitation order is not working and that a modification of visitation is in the best interests of the child." This standard is more easily met than the standard in custody modifications because it is not necessary to prove material change/adverse affect.
- Modification of Child Support - Child Support may be increased or decreased when the payor's ability to pay or the child's need for support changes. A parent seeking to modify child support must show a "substantial and material change" in the circumstances of the child or parents since the decree awarding support. In determining whether a material change has occurred, courts in Mississippi consider:
- increased needs of older child;
- increase in expenses;
- child's health and special medical needs;
- parties' relative financial condition and earning capacity;
- health and special needs of the parents;
- payor's necessary living expenses;
- parties tax liability;
- one party's free use of residence, furnishings or automobile;
- any other relevant facts or circumstances.
As a family law lawyer in the Jackson area, I have experience both prosecuting and defending modification actions in courts throughout Mississippi. In these cases, we will thoroughly review the facts and provide aggressive representation in an effort to achieve your desired result. Please contact the Law Office of M. Devin Whitt at 601-607-5055 to schedule an appointment with a Jackson family law lawyer.