Hopefully, once the judge signs the divorce Decree finalizing a divorce or an Order finalizing a custody case, families settle into a new routine of life. The hope is the parents follow the parenting time schedule, child support gets paid and the parents are communicating with one another about medical and school issues. In reality, the “new normal” does not always go as planned.
Every family court Order, whether it is a divorce, custody or parenting time case, that deals with parenting time, legal custody, physical custody or child support has forms attached to it. Either parent can ask the court to review the last court Order after six months of the Order being signed by the judge. It is important to know the request for the six month Review Hearing must be made before the six months prior to the date the Order was signed runs out. The six month Review Hearings must be completed and filed with Court Administration, which schedules a Review Hearing for the parents and the judge within a reasonable time. The judge, during that court Hearing, reviews the parenting time schedule and child support payments to see that both parents are complying with what the court previously ordered.
In terms of child support, the person paying child support has to provide documentation of those payments to the court showing the child support payments have not been made. A parent can request documentation from the child support enforcement office, but the request must be made at least fourteen days before the Review Hearing.
A judge cannot change child support obligations or parenting time orders at the six-month review hearing. Thus, a parent should speak with an experienced family attorney prior to the six months running out if a parent wants representation at the Review Hearing or if a parent wants to pursue changing legal custody, physical custody, parenting time or child support.