Carlsbad Modification Lawyers
Modification Of Custody & Support Court Orders In San Diego County
So, you survived the emotional and complex process of completing your divorce case. You have final orders on all issues – some issues settled, perhaps some issues were decided by the judge, but you got through it, and you have a divorce judgment in your hands. You’re done with family court, right? Not necessarily. The family court retains jurisdiction over many of the issues related to your recently dissolved marital relationship and may need to be called upon in the future if a modification to your existing divorce judgment is needed.
You can seek a modification of a child custody and visitation order at any time. If that’s something you’d like to do now, contact us at GYL for help. Call 858-951-1526 or submit an online contact form.
What Can Be Modified In A Court-Ordered Divorce Judgement
After a divorce has been finalized, either party can request that the family court make additional orders on the following issues:
- Modification of child support and additional orders related to the support of children, such as payment of medical expenses, school-related expenses, child care and extracurricular expenses
- Modification or termination of spousal support
- Modification of child custody and child visitation orders
- Division of property or debts not divided during the divorce
- Sanctions for bad-faith behavior during the divorce, such as failure to disclose assets
- Contempt of court for willful violations of prior known orders
- Domestic violence restraining orders
- Request to vacate (throw out) the entire final settlement or court ruling for good cause
Many of these “post-judgment motions” require that a certain threshold be met prior to the family court considering the request. For instance, prior to a motion to modify child custody being heard, the party
requesting the modification must demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances relevant to the issue of child custody that would warrant a modification to the prior order. This change in circumstances could be directly or indirectly related to the child so long as the change in circumstance could potentially influence the court to change the co-parenting plan. Some examples might be a change to a parent’s work schedule, the child moving from pre-school or day care to parochial school, or, unfortunately in some cases, one parent’s involvement in illegal activity or abuse of drugs or alcohol.
Modification Of Spousal Support And Child Support Orders
Post-judgment motions related to spousal support and child support orders are especially important to understand – particularly for the party paying the support. There are legal limitations regarding the modification of child and spousal support orders that allow the family court to modify a support order only back to the date that a request to modify is filed. The old order, which, if you lost your job you can no longer afford to pay, continues to accrue whether you can afford to pay it or not.
The only current exception to this rule is in the case of incarceration. An incarcerated obligor of a support order may obtain relief from an order for child support dating back to the date of incarceration so long as he or she does not have an alternate source of funds from which to pay child support.
Modification Of Child Custody Orders
Once a permanent order for child custody and visitation is made by a family court judge, that order is generally only modifiable in the future if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order was made. A change in circumstances would be anything that could potentially have an effect on the current co-parenting plan. It could be that the noncustodial parent’s work schedule has changed to allow for more frequent visits. It could be that the child has graduated from grade school to high school and his or her level of maturity or connection with one parent or the other has changed.
Many facts and situations can arise that may or may not be considered by the court as a material and significant change in circumstances. Generally, so long as it has been a significant period of time since the last orders were made, the court will allow for the motion to modify to proceed. The focus is always going to be to ensure that any orders made are in the best interests of the children.
For Help Modifying A Court Order In Carlsbad, Contact GYL
If you have been served with a post-judgment motion or wish to evaluate whether or not you should file a post-judgment motion, it is important that you talk to a qualified attorney as soon as possible. At Griffith, Young & Lass, we have assembled a team of talented attorneys who have the skills and expertise to handle family law-related cases of every nature, including those involving post-judgment modifications. If your court order is no longer working for you, we want to help you modify it in a way that does.