Modification of Court Orders
Legal Help to Modify an Existing Child Support, Child Custody or Alimony Court Order
While the family court recognizes that families change and circumstances change, court orders for child custody, and child and spousal support, needed to be “final” so they could be enforced. That is why it is not easy to change an existing order.
There are limits to a judge’s ability to modify prior custody and child support orders. When a family court judge considers whether to approve or deny a request to modify an order, he or she will examine both the circumstances of the family and the best interests of the children.
Little in this area of the law has changed over time. What has changed, however, is how judges apply the law given the current economic situation. With the challenging job market, judges are more willing than before to see the loss of a job as a reason to modify support. It is easier to make the case that it may be hard to find a new position.
With wages going down and even high-income earners facing cuts or taking on second jobs, judges are more willing to consider a reduction in spousal support if that order is subject to modification.
And if a new job is offered but it is located in another state, judges are more likely to consider the needs of parents to relocate with a child.
If your financial or family circumstances have changed substantially since your initial custody and visitation order, child support order or spousal support order, contact an attorney at Stiles Ewing Powers PC. We can help you bring your case back to court.
Don’t Make Custody and Visitation Changes Without Returning to Court
Often when parents have a good working relationship they make changes to their visitation agreement as circumstances change. Minor changes do not require a trip back to family court but any significant change should be approved by a judge so that it is enforceable should you experience problems at a later date. Plus, child custody and visitation changes may affect your child support payments.
Modification of Alimony
People often seek a modification of alimony when a former spouse remarries or becomes financial self-sufficient. Alimony may cease or be reduced. Recently we have seen cases in which wage earners have chosen to retire early because their income has suffered due to the economy. A voluntary early retirement decision may or may not be accepted by the court as a valid reason to reduce alimony. A lawyer is essential to making the case for or against a reduction or end to alimony in such a situation.
Talk with one of our family law attorneys about divorce modifications. Contact our Virginia law office online or call 804.545.9800.