3 Reasons You May Need to Modify a Family Law Judgment

In family law cases such as establishing paternity, modifications, or divorce, you or the judge end up making decisions that will significantly affect you and your loved ones for years to come. In many situations, those decisions cannot be created in such a way as to apply to every fact pattern or issue that might crop up down the road. You may have the option to change or modify some aspects of family law cases, including things like timesharing arrangements, child support, alimony, and other related issues.

1. Reasons to Change Child Support Amounts 

One of the issues that your Final Judgment of Divorce should address is the amount of child support a party must pay to the other for the support and care of their children. The amount of support depends on the income and resources of both spouses, number of overnights, whether the timesharing schedule is exercised, changes in school tuition or medical expenses.  If those factors changed significantly, then getting a modification may be possible.

2. Modifying Timesharing Arrangements and Parenting Plans

To modify the parenting plan, one must demonstrate that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the Final Judgment that is permanent in nature, material and is in the best interests of the minor children.

If, for instance, a parent is not spending the court ordered time with the children, then a modification may be warranted. Other potential reasons for modifying a parenting plan might include:

  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Change in residence
  • Adjustment in employment or hours of work
  • Criminal charges
  • Changes in living arrangements that involve third parties
  • Other detrimental behavior or circumstances to the child

Every situation is different. The court will always consider the best interests of the children when making decisions about parenting plans and timesharing.

3. Spousal Support Modifications 

The amount that you or your spouse pay in spousal support or alimony can also be modified in most situations. However, you have to show a substantial change in circumstances to make this change. Things that would qualify as a substantial change will generally affect your income or your ability to make money, such as:

  • Losing your job
  • Taking a lower paying job
  • Being injured or developing a health condition that significantly increases your expenses or decreases your ability to work (diminishing your ability to pay)
  • Former spouse no longer has a need
  • Former spouse has remarried or entered into a supportive relationship

Generally, if you feel like things have changed since the divorce was finalized, and those changes substantially affect your family life causing harm, you may be able to modify those judgments.

Do you need to petition for a modification? McKINNON LEGAL can help. Learn more by contacting our firm or setting up an appointment today.