Modifications Allowed Post-Divorce

iStock_000022786450Small (1)Deciding on terms in a divorce can be difficult and stressful. Sometimes, after the divorce is final, you may find the need to change certain terms. Some things, like property division, cannot be changed after divorce. Luckily, some terms can be changed or modified after divorce. Each modification has its own terms for qualification.

1. Child Support Orders Modification:

Modification to child support orders can be done at any time. A parent may ask to raise or lower the amount of child support paid. If the judge ordered a child support that is below the guideline amount, then the amount of child support can be changed at any time and you do not have to show a “change in circumstances.” This is allowed even if the amount lower than the guideline was agreed upon by both parents. If the child support being paid is at the guideline, then the parent asking for a modification must prove a reasonable change in circumstance, for example:

  • One  or both of the parent’s income has changed
  • One parent has lost their job
  • One parent has been incarcerated
  • One parent had another child from a different relationship
  • The child’s needs have changed, meaning they need increased or decreased money for health care, dental care, child care, or education
  • There has been a significant change in how much time the child spends with each parent
  • There has been a major change in any of the factors used to decide child support

2. Spousal Support Modification: 

Much like child support modification, if one or both parents wants to change the amount of spousal support after divorce then they must have a significant change in circumstances. Reasons for a spousal support modification might be:

  • The spouse receiving spousal support no longer needs it
  • The person paying spousal support can no longer pay the amount of support due to lowered income or losing their job
  • The person being supported is not making reasonable effort at being able to support themselves
  • The  person being supported remarries
  • There was a change in child support, for instance the child is no longer a minor and no longer needs child support

If the spouses can agree on new support terms, they can write it up and have the judge sign it. If they cannot agree, the spouse asking for the change must file a motion for a modification. It is very important that if something occurs that requires a change in spousal support, such as job loss or fewer work hours, that you ask for a modification right away. This is because the court cannot change support retroactively. Some people might wait to change child support amount because they think their change in income is temporary, or other reasons. But if you lose your job and wait a few months to ask for a modification, the court can not go back and change the support on the day you lost your job.

3. Family Support Modification:

Family support is simply a combination of child and spousal support, that allow you to save money on taxes. To qualify for family support modification, you must show a significant change in circumstances like the ones described above. If you can prove a reasonable change in circumstances you can make a file for a change at any time, or file for changes to spousal support and child support separately.