What is a Modification Action and What is the Process?

What is a Modification Action and What is the Process?

In News by YKF Law

Modification actions differ slightly from other family law matters and have a different process. It’s a broad term that involves changing existing plans and court orders for family law matters like child support and visitation.

Since a court order or plan is already in place, you’ll want to be careful about changing your existing parenting plan or order to avoid repercussions from the court. The initial legal process and early filings have already been established in your family law matter, but things frequently change in life and plans need to be adjusted.

If you’ve been struggling with your current family law matter, continue reading to learn about what a modification action is and what the process is to understand if it’s best for your situation.

What is a Modification Action?

Modification actions involve a change of any existing legal plan currently in place. It involves changing custody, visitation, child support, or the parenting plan when an existing order is in place. Because custody, visitation, and child support cases often become complex, parents frequently request to have the details of their parenting plans and agreements modified.

For example, say the court granted supervised visitation to one parent due to complex circumstances like an addiction. If the parent has changed their ways and has gone to meetings or rehab and has regained some stability, they may request to have their current visitation plan modified to allow for more time with their child or even request to regain child custody.

Parenting plans and court orders aren’t necessarily permanent, and if circumstances change, those involved in the legal matter can request to modify their existing parenting plans or court orders. 

What is the Process for a Modification Action?

The court won’t simply modify an existing plan or order without proof that circumstances have improved, or if the requested change is not in the best interest of the child. The process for modification actions differs slightly compared to the initial process of your existing family law matter.

Sometimes the legal process of modifying a parenting plan or other court order is simple, and both parties agree. Other times, it’s more complex, and both parties won’t settle without professional help. Next, we’ll discuss the general process for a modification as well as circumstances where both parties agree and disagree.

General Process for a Modification

There is a general process for each modification action. Whether it’s a child custody or visitation modification, the process will generally be the same. First, the modification action will start with filing a motion followed by a Service of Summons. Next, mediation or a pre-trail or trial may occur. Then the court decides whether or not to grant the changes – they’ll file an Entry of Judgement outlining the modification to the custody or parenting agreement.

Process for a Modification when Both Parties Agree

The legal process is relatively uncomplicated when one parent or ex-spouse wants to modify an agreement and the other parent verbally agrees. If both parties agree, then an agreement (stipulation) for modification must be filed with the courts for a judge to sign off on the changes.

Once the agreement (stipulation) for modification is filed and the change is straightforward, the judge may approve without a hearing. Suppose the judge decides to approve the request without having both parties appear for a hearing. In that case, the modification action will be binding, and the legal process will be over unless other modification actions are requested in the future.

The process differs if the judge orders a hearing. For example, if the parent mentioned in the earlier example above has gone to rehab or changed their ways, the judge may want to hold a hearing. They may request that there be proof that the parent has changed their ways, like statements from the rehab facility or a sponsor from AA. If both parties are in agreement and the judge deems the modification action is in the best interest of the child, they may approve the modification.

Process for a Modification when Both Parties Don’t Agree

If the modification action is contested, meaning both parties don’t agree, then the process will be a little different. When both parties don’t agree, the opposing parent will need to submit evidence of why they don’t want to settle at a contested hearing. When possible, judges request that family law matters be handled outside of court and will suggest mediation so both parties can agree. If that doesn’t happen, a pre-trial or trial may be ordered by the judge.

At The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC, we’ve been providing services for modification actions for years, with over five decades of combined legal experience. We’ve seen it all, from minor adjustments to an existing parenting plan to more complex cases. If you are going through any family law matter and are looking for a family law attorney in Kansas (in and around the Leawood area) or a family law attorney in Kansas City and the surrounding area, we can help. 

We’re dedicated to the practice of family law and can help guide you through any family law matter, keeping your best interests in mind. Our team is skilled in negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward.
We have offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas (consultations by appointment only). In addition to our two physical locations, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, Platte County, Missouri, and Johnson County, Kansas. Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation – we can meet in person or face-to-face via Zoom.