After receiving your divorce decree, you might think the hard part is over. Unfortunately, problems with the divorce decree are bound to crop up sooner or later. People get remarried, find new jobs, or move. The original court orders no longer work for one or both of you and need to be changed. Also, as your children grow, they might have different financial, medical, and psychological needs as well.
At theColwell Law Group, our divorce lawyers in Washington County help clients request modification of divorce orders from the judge. The process is not easy, and there is no guarantee that the judge will agree to the modification—especially if your ex-spouse wants to fight you. To build the strongest case possible, you need an experienced divorce modification attorney representing you.
To obtain a modification, you will need to show that there has been a significant change in circumstances. Judges do not modify existing divorce orders simply because you are unhappy with them or because they are inconvenient. Our clients have requested modification of the following court orders:
Child custody: circumstances might have changed such that you should get custody of your children.
Visitation: the visitation schedule might no longer work because of a new job or because you have moved.
Child support: your child might need more support because of illness or disability, or you might need to reduce your child support payments because you have lost a job or become disabled.
Spousal support: spousal support might no longer be necessary because your spouse has obtained a higher-paying job or remarried.
The party who wants the modification must file a petition with the Family Court explaining how circumstances have changed, and then they must serve it on the other party. Your ex-spouse can either agree to the modification, propose their own, or fight any change. A judge will then hold a hearing where each side can present evidence.
Some of our clients wrongly believe that they can go ahead and change their divorce orders just as soon as a significant change has happened in their life. However, you actually need a judge to agree to the change. For example, you might have lost your job, but you still must continue paying child support or spousal support until the judge modifies the order.
To build the strongest case possible, you need evidence documenting what has changed. For example:
If you have lost a job, you should have proof of a termination notice or your qualification for unemployment insurance benefits.
If someone’s health has changed, then you should submit medical records as proof.
If someone has remarried, you should submit proof, such as a copy of a marriage certificate.
If the other party has gained a higher-paying job, write down how you learned of this fact.
If you are the person seeking to modify the divorce order, you have the burden of convincing the judge that circumstances warrant the change. You cannot show up to a court hearing and expect a judge to find in your favor based on nothing more than your own testimony.
Speak to a Washington County Divorce Modification Lawyer Today
Court orders should be responsive to current conditions, and we can help you seek a modification when they no longer do. At the Colwell Law Group, our lawyers are available to help you reform the court’s orders to satisfy current needs. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.
Get The Best Outcome For Your Children
Learn how to help your kids cope with your divorce with our complimentary guide for parents who are getting divorced or separated in New York.