Newburyport Divorce Modifications Lawyer
Getting your divorce decree might have brought a huge sigh of relief. Finally, you are divorced and can move on with your life. However, life never stands still, and the orders you received regarding child custody, child support, alimony, and other issues will probably need to change in the future. This is where a Newburyport divorce modification lawyer can help.
Modifications are not always easy to obtain. Typically, you must return to the court that issued the original divorce decree and file paperwork before attending a hearing. Only a judge can modify the divorce decree and adjust a parenting plan or support obligation. Contact Turco Legal, PC today to schedule a consultation with a member of our firm to discuss your odds of success.
Change In Circumstances
Modification usually requires a change in circumstances. There are some limited exceptions when it comes to child support, but we usually need to convince a judge that the situation has changed so much that the initial orders make little sense anymore.
For example, to change custody we might need to show that one parent moved away or that the custodial parent has a drug or alcohol problem or is otherwise a danger to the child. Other significant changes could include the child growing older and participating in extracurricular activities, which render the original parenting plan obsolete. It isn’t unusual that parenting plans need to change as a child ages. However, any change of custody must be in the child’s best interests.
In the child support context, a material and substantial change could include job loss, illness, disability, incarceration, or some other substantial change. A large raise or inheritance could also alter the financial circumstances in such a way that a judge will take another look at the support order. For example, any change in finances that would result in a 20% deviation would support a modification.
It is possible to modify child support without a material and substantial change if your original order was not made according to the state’s guidelines. But this is somewhat rare.
With alimony, remarriage or death should support a modification. Cohabitation sometimes does as well, especially if living with another person substantially improves their financial condition. Otherwise, we will look to see if the spouse receiving alimony has received any money via inheritance or a big job promotion.
Division of Marital Property
It’s not usually possible to modify an order regarding marital property unless there was a clear error or your ex committed fraud. For example, your ex-husband might have had a side job and put his earnings in a hidden bank account. If he didn’t disclose the account during the divorce, you might be able to modify the order so that it applies to that property.
How A Newburyport Divorce Modification Lawyer Helps
As with all family law issues, an attorney provides a big benefit. Some judges are harder to convince than others that there has been a significant change in circumstances. A seasoned Newburyport divorce modification lawyer understands how local judges think and can tailor a case to their preferences.
If your ex is fighting the modification, you’ll also want high-quality evidence to present. For example, your ex might deny that she has moved in with a new man who is supporting her. You’ll need witnesses and possibly other documentary evidence, which an experienced attorney knows how to obtain.
Mutual Agreements To Modify
Not all modifications need to be litigated in court. You and your ex might agree to make changes, possibly with the help of mediation. When you reach an agreement, you should reduce it to writing and submit it to the judge for approval. Reaching a mutual agreement is beneficial, especially when a couple needs to co-parent for several more years going forward.
One question we receive is: If you and your ex can agree, why get a court order? Actually, a court order protects you in case your ex changes his or her mind later. For example, you might agree to cut alimony payments in half. But you can only enforce that order in court if a judge has signed off on it. In fact, unpaid arrears can accrue absent a court-approved modification.
We Can Discuss Modifications More In Depth
The modification process cannot be easily summarized in one article. If you are searching for information, we will gladly meet to discuss your case. Sometimes people don’t know how to even approach their ex to suggest a change, but avoiding litigation is often possible.
To learn more about how Turco Legal can help, contact us at (978) 225-9030.