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For modifications, it doesn’t really matter if the parents weren’t married or if they were married but have been divorced for so long. The circumstances that change could happen at any time. Some parents will move right after their divorce, so there’s no timeframe for modification.

In some cases, a parent might need a bit of time to determine there’s a problem. Maybe they’re still really upset with the other spouse, or maybe they didn’t fully appreciate the conditions in which their child has been living at first. When they do see a problem, they want to build the case. Furthermore, some parents hawk over the other parent: They’ll follow them, they’ll make sure that they’re doing everything they want properly (especially for young kids), and they’ll act as monitors. Those kinds of parents are waiting for an opportunity to modify that order as soon as they can because they didn’t like the divorce order to begin with. Overall, modifications will depend on the circumstances of what happened, whether that’s the day after the divorce or 15 years down the road.

What Is The Process To Modify A Support Order? Do I Need My Original Attorney Or Can I Attempt To Modify On My Own?

There’s no rule that says you have to have an attorney. If your divorce case was ten years ago, you don’t necessarily need to go dig up your old attorney, but if they’re still available, they will probably be a great resource due to their knowledge of your divorce or custody trial. Some people will have multiple attorneys after their divorce. Others will need a break after spending $70,000 in the divorce and will try to file a modification on their own using the self-help services at the courthouse.

Modification may look easy on paper, but it can actually be complicated due to the two-step process, which is why consultation can be beneficial. You need to make sure you have the grounds; otherwise, you could file and then end up paying the other party’s attorney’s fees when they come back with a strong defense. In some cases, it’s so obvious that there are grounds that it’s not a problem, but these more detailed situations call for guidance. If you had a good relationship with your prior attorney, that would probably be the first person to call, though it’s really a preference issue.

What Are The Benefits Of Hiring A Qualified Attorney?

Your natural belief that you can make things better by modifying a custody order can sometimes be a barrier when it comes to using the right language or getting the correct issues in front of the courts. If that were to happen, you’re stuck with an open case, and you’ll need help. Modifications are not something to casually play with.

It’s also important to think of your child. Ask yourself: Will they be able to go through this whole process? Is the modification request coming from a place of anger with your spouse or out of a genuine interest in caring for the child? Then, ask yourself: Can I modify this on my own? Some people do modify it on their own, and the judges will work with them—it’s not impossible to do. But as a rule, I tell people not to overlook legal help unless they have legal experience or unless they think it’s a simple issue (like someone’s moving or things of that nature that are very straightforward). Even then, I recommend talking to an attorney first.


Attorney Andrei Blakely spent nearly ten years as a journalist before settling down to practice family law in Baltimore and Montgomery County in Maryland. Attorney Blakely’s clear and straightforward communication gives a fresh perspective on topics critical to many Maryland families while rendering obscure and complex legal concepts accessible and empowering for his readers.

Connect with The Law Office Of Andrei Blakely for regular updates on essential Maryland family law developments and gain valuable insight into negotiating divorce and custody conflicts in Baltimore.

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