Circumstances often change after a divorce has been finalized and a judgment has been given. Life is constantly evolving, especially in a family with young children. What was appropriate for you and your family when you got divorced may no longer apply today. If you experience a substantial change in circumstances, you may need to update your current court orders. The Palo Alto post-judgment modification attorneys at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., can help you with this process.
What Is a Post-Judgment Modification?
A post-judgment modification is an official request submitted to the courts to change or alter an existing order. Typically, when the family law courts in California issue a decree – such as finalizing a dissolution of marriage – it is final. Neither party can ignore the order or change its terms without approval. Both parties must adhere to the judgment completely or else risk being held in contempt of court.
However, there are some circumstances when the courts will agree to modify an existing order or judgment. The simplest option for modifying court orders post-judgment is to come to an agreement about the new terms with the other party involved, such as your ex-spouse. This can avoid a trial. If you and your ex-spouse cannot work together on an acceptable modification, you will need to prove the grounds for your request to a judge.
When Can You Request a Modification of a Judgment in California?
A judge will only sign off on a modification request if it is supported with proof that the requesting party’s circumstances have substantially changed since the original judgment was granted. Typically, an individual is not permitted to modify a family court order for small or minor changes. The difference between the petitioner’s current situation and his or her circumstances when the judgment was made must be significant.
Common changes that make post-judgment modifications appropriate are:
- The loss of your job
- A significant demotion or pay cut
- An increase in income
- A move or relocation
- Military deployment
- Changing needs of a child
- The birth of another child
- A newly diagnosed illness or health problem
- The remarriage of someone who receives alimony
Some divorce judgments cannot be modified. Alimony (spousal support) agreements created by a couple, for example, could be unchangeable. However, most orders can be modified in specific circumstances. In California, you could also petition to have a judgment set aside or canceled. This is only possible in highly specific situations, such as the discovery of the nondisclosure of assets. In this case, a judge may set aside a divorce decree.
Why You Need an Attorney for Post-Judgment Modifications
It can be difficult to achieve a post-judgment modification of a child support, spousal support, custody or another type of family law order on your own. Hiring an attorney improves the odds of having your request approved. Your lawyer can help you establish the grounds that prove the modification is reasonably necessary, such as a substantial change in your income from when your divorce was finalized. If your ex-spouse is seeking a modification that you wish to stop, your lawyer could also protect your interests in this scenario, both in and out of court.
Contact a Palo Alto Post-Judgment Modification Lawyer Today
It is not uncommon for someone’s situation to change after receiving a family law judgment in California. It can be difficult, however, for an individual to have a modification request granted by the courts. The Palo Alto post-judgement modification attorneys at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., have years of experience handling modification requests and other complicated family law matters. We can review your case and determine if sufficient legal grounds exist to warrant a modification. If so, we may offer to represent you in Palo Alto. Call (415) 969-2981 or contact us online today to learn more about how we can help.