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Modifying child custody

Residents of St. Clair County often wonder if a court order entered during the divorce, say setting a level of child support, can be modified after the final judgment has been signed by the judge and entered by the clerk. The answer is usually “yes,” but the party seeking the change must follow the rules of court established by the St. Clair County district court for such proceedings.

Notice to the court

The first step in seeking modification of a child custody order is providing written notice of the dispute to the judge as soon as a dispute is known to exist. After receiving the notice, the chief judge will assign a judge to hear the case. The assigned judge will then issue an order for mediation to occur within 45 days of the date of the order.

Both parties must file a sworn financial disclosure statement at least 48 hours before the hearing, although they may be able to opt out of this rule by mutual agreement, if the court agrees.

Position statement

The parties must each file a statement of proposed resolution of all issues between them not less than seven days prior to the hearing.

If the pre-hearing filings from the parties do not result in a settlement, the court will conduct a hearing and consider the relevant evidence before issuing an order resolving the dispute.

As may be inferred from the foregoing discussion, the order modification process requires several important submissions from the parties. It’s a good idea for parents on either side of one of these disputes to seek out advice from experienced professionals.

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