Doing a cost-benefit analysis


14562712_SThere are many individuals out there contemplating filing a family law case to modify an existing order.  There are many instances why somebody might consider amending an existing order.  For example:

  • In some instances, the child support figures might be a little outdated.  When computing new figures, it might be that a slight adjustment would take place if the case took place today.
  • In some cases, the same could apply to a spousal support maintenance order.  In other words, when looking at current income and expenses, the court might order a minor variant if the case were to take place today.
  • The same logic could also apply to a custody case.  It might be that one visitation order was originally entered.  But due to changing circumstances, it might be that the custody schedule would have different components if the current facts were to be taken into account.

Individuals call law firms regularly with scenarios.  Some parties are just inquiring about whether a modification should be filed.  Other parties are more indignant that they shouldn’t have to pay any more than what the court would order today.  Thus, they are ready to barrel forward with a modification no matter the pros and cons.

Obviously, when a modification (or motion to modify) would be likely to garner significant changes, it very well might be worth it in many instances.  However, in cases where only a slight adjustment might be had, party really has to consider the time and expense involved in determining whether going to court would be worth it.  With most attorneys billing by the hour, no attorney billing by the hour can tell any party definitively what a case might cost.  By the same token, no attorney can tell any party definitively what the final results will be because that will be up to the judge.

However, it is vital that a party at least have a thoughtful conversation with an attorney about the potential upside versus the potential downside.  It is also imperative that a party consider the fees they might spend in pursuing a modification versus the adjustment that might be had.  In other words, if child support could be adjusted by a large amount (say $500 a month over the next ten years, which would equal $60,000), that might lead a client to a conclusion to push forward.  However, if child support could only be adjusted by a small amount (say $100 a month over the next year, which would equal $1,200), that might lead a client to the conclusion that the cost isn’t worth it.  For these reasons, it is critical that a party consider the variables before simply marching forward.

If you are contemplating filing a modification, Stange Law Firm, PC and their family law attorneys in Springfield, Illinois in Sangamon County can help.  You can reach us at 1-855-805-0595.

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