Essential Facts You Should Know about Post-Divorce Modifications in Fall River
Upon completing the final stage of the divorce process, there will be a judgment on file involving any combination of the following issues: child custody and visitation, child support, property division, and alimony. Both parties are expected to comply with these court orders. However, the original court orders are sometimes later changed by post-divorce modifications. Parties always have the option of requesting modifications to child-related provisions, and whether alimony is modifiable depends on the terms of the agreement. Property division, however, is generally not modifiable, so the terms of the agreement on that issue are usually final.
For example, changes in financial situations, ability, and capacity to parent, or in the parties’ schedules for visitation may require certain modifications to the prior divorce judgment. When the issue arises, it’s important that you consult an attorney who can effectively analyze your case and circumstances and implement a plan and presentation that gives you the best chance to convince a judge of your position. The Law Offices of Bill Farias will assist you in your modification goals so that you can expect aggressive pursuit of your objectives and quality client service throughout the process.
Types of Post-Divorce Modifications
Child Custody and Visitation Modification
The court may allow divorce agreements and/or orders on child custody and visitation to be changed when there are a “material and substantial change in circumstance.” While the term is difficult to define precisely, it’s clear that something significant must have changed since the parties were last in court. Common issues that are considered for modifications include the increased or decreased ability of one of the parties to parent the children, substance abuse, exposure to domestic violence, sexual abuse, physical or emotional abuse or other forms of neglect, failure to agree on a major issue related to the children, relocation of a parent, or visitation schedule and arrangement. As time goes on, a parent may want to become more involved with the children. Regardless of the issue, the court must determine what is in the best interest of the children.
As the children grow, circumstances are constantly changing. And in many cases, modification of the court order is necessary. The parent that filed the case must be prepared to present evidence of the change in circumstance and propose changes to the judge. It is important that the evidence is tailored to the legal standard and that it is presented in a manner that is admissible and persuasive to the judge.
If this is an issue that you face, you can count on The Law Offices of Bill Farias to formulate and execute a legal plan that gives you the best chance of getting the post-divorce changes in child custody or visitation you need to ensure the safety of your children and increase the quality time you spend with them.
Child Support Modification
Child support calculations are based on the most current Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, which went into effect in August 2013. The guidelines utilize a calculation that takes into account both parents’ gross incomes and allows for some deductions such as health-care costs, child-care costs, and other support orders. Based on the new guidelines and subsequent case law, if there is a difference between the amount suggested by a prior calculation and a new calculation based on updated financial figures, the court may modify the child support amount. Prior orders may also be modified if there is a change in physical custody or a significant change in the amount of time the child spends with either parent, a change in health insurance coverage or cost, a significant change in work-related child care costs, an issue about tax exemptions, among other issues. By contacting the Law Offices of Bill Farias, you can give yourself the best chance of obtaining a child support order that puts you in the best financial position possible under the circumstances.
First, if the parties originally contracted in their divorce agreement to close off the alimony issue, it’s not modifiable. The language to look for in the agreement is “merge” v. “survive.” If the alimony provision merges with the divorce judgment, it is modifiable. If it survives the judgment, absent extreme circumstances, no changes can be made.
For judgments that are modifiable, just as with child custody and visitation, alimony may be modified if there are a material and substantial change in circumstance. Modification may result in termination of the alimony, a change in the amount, suspension of payments, etc. Issues that may result in modification include the remarriage of the recipient, changes in health care coverage, cohabitation of the recipient, retirement, significant changes in income to either party and significant changes in earning capacity for either party, among others.
Again, when filing for modification of alimony, it is important to be armed with persuasive and admissible evidence at the first court hearing. As in other areas of life, first impressions are important in court, and putting your best foot forward on your case early on gives you a better chance of a favorable outcome.
If you believe you’re entitled to alimony modification, be sure to do your homework and make an appointment with a family law attorney for a consultation.
Getting the Right Help
It’s always in your best interest to try to find the most effective legal professional when you have plans of altering any terms of a divorce judgment. Especially if there’s opposition on the other side, it’s critical to obtain legal guidance and judgment so that you give yourself the best chance of prevailing on your request for post-divorce modification.
With assistance from the Law Offices of Bill Farias, you can be certain that you’ll get the guidance you need to make the right decisions on your post-divorce modification issues. Attorney Farias’s experience and aggressiveness optimize your chances of a favorable outcome.
Contact Us Now
An experienced and aggressive family law attorney will fight to obtain necessary changes to your prior order to put you in the best position possible going forward. Call us today or send us an email with your inquiries to learn more about how we can help you.
This site and all information on it is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT LEGAL ADVICE. You should seek competent legal representation on any legal matter.