The terms you reach with your ex after a divorce or separation might now
always be applicable to your family. As your life changes, you may need
to seek a modification for your current court-orders. Whether you are
looking to relocate, remarry, or you’ve suffered a job loss, major
life changes like these usually warrant a court-ordered modification.
If you have reason to amend your child support, child custody, or spousal
support arrangements, consider filing for a modification.
Eligibility for Modifications
Not everyone who wants to change their court-orders may obtain a modification.
Family legal matters are concrete as they stand, but, courts understand
that as families grow and change, they may require modifications to reflect
those new dynamics. If you, your ex, or your child has undergone a significant
change, you may be able to seek a modification through the court. Depending
on your situation, the grounds for modification vary. If you are looking
for a modification to your spousal support payments, the court may look
at different factors than if you were to seek an amendment to child support
or child custody orders.
Acceptable reasons for spousal support modifications include:
- A substantial change to either party’s income
- Job loss
- Either spouse has become disabled or seriously ill
- The receiving party remarries or lives with a partner
While reasons for changes to spousal support and child support can be the
same, the conditions can vary when the court order involves children.
Child support or custody may be modified for the following reasons:
- Significant changes to either parent’s income
- A change in the medical needs of the child
- A significant change in the medical needs of either parent
- Relocation of either parent
- Either parent has more children he or she is financially responsible for
- The child’s living situation changes
Also, if child custody is altered it is likely that child support will
be modified to reflect the new arrangement.
Factors Used to Determine Modifications
When seeking a modification, it’s important to remember the goal
of court-ordered support, especially as it may vary in each situation.
Spousal support, or alimony, is designed to help the spouse with a lower
income enjoy the same standard of living he or she supported during the
marriage. However, in most cases, spousal support is not intended to last
forever. The duration of the marriage and the marital contributions of
each spouse will all be factored into the court’s decision. These
contributions may include emotional support, financial earnings, and the
care of a stay-at-home parent.
Modifications to child support and child custody, however, will depend
more on issues that relate directly to the child in question. The court
will make any modifications necessary to ensure the health and happiness
of the child, with the child’s wellbeing as the focus. Modifications
will be amended based on the income of each parent, who acts as the primary
caregiver, the child’s relationship with each parent, as well as
several other factors. The court will aim to ensure that each parent contributes
to the financial responsibility of the child equally.
If you believe you qualify for a modification to your child support, child
custody, or spousal support order, our firm can help. Our attorneys have
more than 30 years of experience in family law and we know how to determine
if you are eligible for a modification. We can use our legal knowledge
and experience to support your wishes and guide you through the necessary
process to obtain the modification you need.
Contact the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny
to discuss your case with our family law attorney.