Although a finalized divorce agreement, support order or custody order has the authority of a court behind it, the order is not written in stone. It can often be modified over time as circumstances and needs change.
At States Family Law, I help clients seek post-judgment modifications, post-judgment enforcement and motions to set aside judgments that were unfair or inaccurate.
Modifying Child Custody Orders
The custody agreement established at the time of the divorce may have accurately reflected the best interests of the children at the time. But as children grow, their physical, emotional and financial needs change.
Child custody modifications may also be necessary after a significant change in a parent’s circumstances, including:
- The loss of a job or inability to find steady work
- A change in work schedule requiring the parent to be away during most of their parenting time
- One parent’s need to relocate for work
- One parent’s desire to relocate, especially out of state
- Drug and alcohol abuse problems
- Domestic violence between the parents
Whether you are seeking to modify your child custody order or fighting to prevent modification, my firm can help. I can also assist you if your ex-spouse is refusing to abide by the custody agreement.
Child Support Modifications
Financial circumstances are very susceptible to change, and orders may need to be modified to reflect those changes. With child support, the biggest considerations are often those relating to income(s) and parenting timeshare, but it can also be affected by significant changes in expenses of the parents or children. A post-judgment request for income information can be issued without filing to modify child support first. That can help determine in advance if your guideline child support order will change in a meaningful way before you seek to do so.
Modifying Spousal Support
Unless specifically made non-modifiable, spousal support orders can be changed upon a substantial change of circumstance. But, but doing so requires an agreement for the change or an evidentiary hearing (trial) to examine the facts as they apply to Family Code Section 4320. Over time, spousal support can often be reduced, especially if the recipient spouse remains underemployed after receiving a Gavron warning as to the consequence of failing to use good faith efforts to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.
Setting Aside An Order or Judgment
Some support agreements, custody agreements and divorce settlements need to be changed because they were obtained under unfair circumstances, or were based upon incorrect information. In such cases, a party can ask the court to set aside the order or judgment containing the faulty agreement within a very limited period.
There are many reasons why an order or judgment may need to be set aside or corrected. However, it is important to note that you cannot pursue this option simply because you changed your mind and no longer agree with it. There must generally be a demonstrable mistake, duress, or other problem that unduly influenced the original judgment.
Seek The Help Of A Skilled Lawyer
I am attorney Linda D. States, and I am ready to assist you with nearly any modification or set-aside issue. To learn more, call my Sacramento office at 916-696-2425. You can also contact me via email.