Even the best parenting plans and support arrangements can become outdated and impractical. At The Colwell Law Group, LLC our attorneys regularly get calls from parents and ex-spouses who are anxious to change an existing court order. While post-judgment modification isn’t always possible, there are many situations where you can revise your child support, child custody, or alimony orders.
If your family’s needs have changed and you’re ready for a new arrangement that better suits your current situation, speak to an Albany post-judgment modifications lawyer at The Colwell Law Group, LLC today.
Role of an Attorney During the Modifications Process
Whether you were divorced last year or 10 years ago, you have the right to seek post-judgment modification of a custody, visitation or child support order when you have significant life changes. An experienced lawyer can help you petition for the changes you need.
However, modifying a family law court order isn’t a simple process. You’ll need to present strong evidence that supports your claim and address any objections and defenses that your former spouse offers. Thankfully, you don’t have to navigate these challenges alone. The Colwell Law Group, LLC’s respected team of family law attorneys in Albany would love to help you with a post-judgment modification.
What is a Change in Circumstances?
Not all aspects of divorce arrangements can be readily modified. For example, you are not going to be able to make changes to a decades-old property settlement very easily. However, there are many aspects of a family law court order that can be changed more readily.
You have the ability to pursue modification of child support, custody, and visitation orders by showing that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the original order was entered. Of course, substantial changes can come in many forms. Examples include:
Drastic, unanticipated increase or decrease in income
Change in the needs of the child
Change in the family dynamic such as remarriage or the birth of a child
Parent’s relocation or military deployment
When a parent’s work schedule or obligations changes significantly, impacting their ability to care for the child
Unexpected health issue or disability
Situation that could potentially endanger the child
The emancipation of a child
The other parent consistently and knowingly violates your existing order
If you believe that there has been a significant change in your family’s circumstances, you should immediately consult with a post-judgment modification attorney in Albany. Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to a modified custody or support order.
Do I Really Need to Go to Court to Modify a Post Judgment Order?
Sometimes, your former spouse will suggest that you just mutually agree to a changed parenting plan or support payments. However, this is never in your best interest. Until a court approves a modified family law order, you are legally bound by the first one’s terms. This means that you may face serious penalties if your ex-spouse later alleges that you unilaterally violated the custody or support order’s terms. Similarly, you won’t be able to enforce your voluntary agreement if it wasn’t approved by the court, and your ex-spouse or partner violates your deal.
Rather than take this risk, it’s always best to formally request a modification from a family law judge.
How Do I Modify a Judgment in Albany?
Notably, you should never just stop paying child support or alimony or decide to ignore your court-ordered parenting plan. These activities can result in penalties and you could be found in contempt of court. Instead, you should always consult with an Albany modification lawyer who could help you request an alteration in your existing judgment.
Your lawyer will help you make a formal request for modification. This involves a series of steps:
Filing a motion with the court
Formally notifying your former spouse of your request
Presenting your rationale and supporting evidence to a judge (and responding to your former spouse’s objections) at a hearing
Throughout this process, your lawyer may also try to negotiate a mutually-agreed upon proposed order with your former spouse and their attorney. If this is unsuccessful, the judge will make a final decision in the matter.
Altering an Alimony Order
In addition to modifying child support and custody orders, you can also change an alimony order under certain circumstances. Again, you simply cannot stop making payments, and you’ll need a court order to change your alimony payments. Common reasons for a change in alimony include a significant change in either spouse’s income, remarriage, or a disability.
Making Changes to a Property Distribution Arrangement in Albany
Under New York law, it’s much more difficult to modify a property division order. Unless you have evidence that your ex-spouse hid assets or engaged in other fraudulent activities during your divorce proceedings, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to change your property distribution.
However, there are circumstances where this type of malfeasance occurs. If you suspect that your former spouse lied about their income, hid evidence, or improperly transferred assets in an attempt to reduce your property allocation, you should immediately contact an experienced Albany lawyer who could help you request a modification to this existing order. Your attorney will investigate your claims, sift through the evidence, and may have to consult with forensic accountants and other experts to advance your claim.
Enforcing an Existing Order
If your former spouse or partner refuses to follow a family law court order, you should contact your attorney as soon as possible. With help from your lawyer, you may be able to force their compliance or collect unpaid support payments. For more information, please contact our office.
Contact an Albany Post-Judgment Modifications Attorney
If you’re in need of an alteration to your existing court order, our Albany post-judgment modification lawyers would love to hear from you. We assist individuals throughout the Capital region with complex modification issues. At The Colwell Law Group, LLC, we will take the time to learn about the change in circumstance that has occurred. Once we understand the details, we will give you straight answers about your options. If we believe that seeking a custody change or another type of modification is not an option, we will tell you so.
However, if we believe that an alteration to your existing order is possible, we will pursue it in a manner that is not only effective, but efficient and cost-conscious. For a consultation about modification or any other family law issue, contact our office today.
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