Many clients feel relieved after divorce proceedings end, hoping that everything is “over.” Unfortunately, that is not often the case. Often, situations change and either, or both, parties feel the need to request a change to an existing order in court. If you feel that an important aspect of your life has changed and requires that an existing court order be modified, you should speak to a family law attorney to discuss your options and to help you through the process.
These orders can be modified anytime post-judgment. It is important to understand that the burden on the parent seeking the order is to show that the circumstances have changed significantly since the final order, unless they simply want to modify the visitation schedule. The parent requesting a change must also show that the proposed change is in the child’s best interests. Some changes that may signal a need to change a child custody and visitation order include a change in the residence of one parent, a parent who starts abusing drugs or alcohol, or one parent not spending expected court ordered time with the child.
When either parent’s income changes or when the amount of time either parent spends with the child changes, the parent may request that the child support order be modified. Be aware that the change must be significant and that it cannot simply be temporary. If a parent’s income only changes slightly during a weak work season or if they are unable to spend a certain amount of time with the child due to a long trip, it will likely not be fruitful to pursue a modification on the basis of such a small change.
While certain divorce judgments that spouses agreed on make it impossible to modify alimony for its duration, most awards are modifiable. To modify an alimony award, the court must analyze 13 factors as outlined in California’s Family Code, Section 4320.
It may not be easy to make the decision to go back to court to litigate a child support, child custody, and visitation or alimony. In that event, it may be difficult to determine whether you should look to the legal process again, you should consult a local, Sonoma County family law attorney. Contact the office of Charles D. Stark for the best help determining whether you should modify any Court order post-judgment by calling 707-527-9900.