Should you seek a modification to your divorce order?

Life continues to change, even long after a divorce is final. Over time, it is possible that a custody or financial support order is no longer viable for your current situation. When these circumstances arise, you may seek a legal remedy to these concerns, including the possibility for a modification.

Significant life changes may impact your ability to meet financial obligations, thrive on your current amount of support or maintain your current child custody arrangement. While a verbal agreement with your former spouse may seem sufficient, this has no legal foundation, and it may lead to complications in the future. If you need to change your divorce order, you need an experienced lawyer.

Valid grounds for a post-divorce custody or support modification

The New York family courts grant post-divorce modifications only when valid grounds are present. This decision is not based on a list of complaints but on concrete concerns that may impact your quality of life or that of your children. Valid reasons for a modification to a spousal support order include:

  • You or your ex-spouse remarried.
  • You lost your job.
  • New circumstances have changed your financial abilities.
  • Your ex-spouse is now financially self-sufficient.

For some families, it may be necessary to change an existing custody order in order to meet the current needs of your kids or due to other extenuating circumstances, such as:

  • Your children wish to move in with the noncustodial parent.
  • A child has new, serious medical needs.
  • You or your former spouse have moved or wish to move.
  • A significant change is in the best interests of your kids.

A modification to a child custody order will also likely impact child support. A modification must protect the needs and interests of the kids, and your lawyer can help you assert your parental rights and seek a resolution to your legal concerns regarding child support, child custody and spousal support.

Take appropriate steps to protect your future interests

A divorce order should be careful to address all pertinent issues, which should help a family avoid future legal complications after a divorce is final. Despite these efforts, things change and circumstances beyond your control may arise. If you believe you may have valid grounds for a post-divorce modification, an experienced family law attorney can help you seek a positive, sustainable resolution.

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Keith B. Schulefand, Esq.
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