When Circumstances Change After Divorce or Paternity Action
When a divorce or paternity decree is entered, the court orders reflect the basic circumstances in place at that particular time. If a substantial change occurs in the years after divorce, the court will allow you to file a petition and seek a modification of the terms of the order. Generally speaking, rulings of a court, including decrees of divorce and paternity, are the court’s orders until modified by the court or by agreement between the parties. Whether or not a party may request the court to modify its order depends greatly on changes in circumstances, if any, that have taken place after the entry of the decree.
Parties often seek relief from the court to modify court orders. Sometimes, both the parties seek the change to ratify something that is already taking place, such as a change in a parent-time schedule, and which to formalize the agreement they have. Other times, the parties are not in agreement and seek the court’s determination of whether the order should be modified. Common areas of modification include: alimony, child support, parent-time, and custody. .
Modifications of court orders can sometimes be legally complex and hard to understand. Sometimes the order itself will dictate if and how an order may be modified. Often, discussion and mediation between the parties is a pre-requisite before a petition to modify may be filed. Whatever the case may be, the facts and the law should be carefully weighed before a party decides to ask the court for a modification of a decree. At Burton Attorneys at Law, we’ve handled countless modifications. We have the experience to advise you on your modification issue.
|You lose your job or get a lower-paying job.||Child support payments may be recalculated if requisite statutory requirements are met.|
|You get a higher paying job or a pay increase.||Child support payments may be recalculated if requisite statutory requirements are met.|
|Your child is not doing well at school or at home.||You may change child custody if it is in the best interests of the child.|
|A spouse with residential custody wishes to move out of the state.||If the non-moving parent objects, the court may order a change in custody.|
|A parent starts using drugs or engages in other behavior that endangers the child.||The court may change child custody and parent-time and require supervised visits.|
|A spouse is not paying child support or spousal support.||A modification may not be necessary. You may file an enforcement action and a judge may force your spouse to pay child support.|
In most cases, a party cannot seek a modification for marital property division after divorce except in cases of fraud or hidden assets. It is important to speak with a lawyer immediately if you believe your former spouse may have hidden assets from you during your divorce.