Divorce is the dissolution of a marriage, but that does not mean that all responsibilities to a former spouse or children will necessarily end. Divorced parents follow strict child custody and child support guidelines to provide the best possible upbringing to their children. In other cases, spousal support may need to be paid to a spouse so that they maintain the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. Violation of these agreements can result in some serious consequences. Rather than violating a legal order, a modification can be sought. If approved, it can change the terms that were set by a judge in the original divorce case.

Reasons for Modification

Pursuing a modification is the most effective means of reevaluating an existing agreement for child support, child custody, spousal support, maintenance or any others. Modifications are post-decree matters and should be initiated when there are significant changes to either spouse's income or monthly expenses such as a job promotion or loss of a job, unexpected medical expenses, or changing needs in education or other need for the children of the marriage. With respect to agreements made to care for children, modifications could be sought when circumstances change regarding visitation.

How to Modify an Existing Court Order

The court will need to be petitioned in order for the modification to be considered and a form can be obtained and filed with the court for a small fee. A judge will review the case and look into the proceedings that led to the original court ruling. They will also assess why the change is being sought, and if they believe the new situation does demonstrate a valid need for a modification. The other party will be served and their answer must be given to the court within a 20 day period, or up to 60 if they are out of the state. The hearing can then be scheduled in which the court will listen to the reasons that modification is being requested. If the other party fails to respond after being served, default may be issued.

Modification is one of the most important tools former spouses have to keep their right to support current and up-to-date. Delays in support adjustments can be disastrous for everyone involved. These matters should be handled by a legal professional, and Blair & Kim, PLLC has the experience to address all post decree matters quickly. Our firm can quickly and efficiently file a modification to address changes that may occur with you or your spouse, and we will work hard to make sure that your modification is decided in the most favorable way possible.