Brooklyn Child & Spousal Support Modifications Lawyers
Child support and spousal support are two financial issues that are often of key importance in a divorce. Every state operates under its own guidelines when making decisions regarding financial provisions for children or a former spouse during divorce proceedings. Once the court issues an order, both parties must fully adhere to its terms, no matter what. If adherence becomes infeasible, a person may request a child support or spousal support modification. In other words, he or she can request that the court change the order for a specific reason.
The court takes many factors under consideration when making decisions regarding child support or spousal support. Such decisions are not made lightly. Therefore, it is only with good reason that the court will agree to modify an existing court order. In matters of child support, the court always has children’s interests in mind. At the same time, the court understands that unexpected circumstances or changes may arise that might cause severe financial distress for either parent, which may then prompt a need to request modification of a court order.
Legitimate reasons to request child support modification
Whether you’re a parent who pays child support or are a custodial parent whose ex makes monthly payments to provide for your children, an issue might arise prompting a need to request modification of your court order. The court will expect you to show just cause when filing such a petition, meaning that you have a legitimate reason why you are no longer able to meet the terms of the existing court order or why you believe the existing terms are no longer serving your children’s interests.
There are numerous issues that the court may consider legitimate cause to modify a child support order. If your children’s financial needs increase, it is understandable that you would ask the court to increase your co-parent’s payment amount. Perhaps you’ve recently relocated with your children and the cost of living at your new residence is significantly higher than your previous location. This, too, would be a valid reason to request more child support. If you’re paying child support, the court may consider it just cause for modification if you have lost your job or experienced a reduction of income.
Spousal support modifications
Court-ordered financial provision for a former spouse is known as spousal support. If you sacrificed a career to stay home and raise your children, a divorce might mean that you are re-entering the work force after a number of years or that you will be pursuing post-secondary education to further your career. These are typical issues that would prompt the court to order spousal support.
If you’ve been paying spousal support and your ex has recently increased his or her income, you can file a petition for modification to request a lower payment amount. Another reason that the court might agree to lower your payments might be if you suffered a medical emergency or developed a chronic health condition that has resulted in substantial medical debt. If you remarry or have children with a new spouse, you can seek spousal support modification due to your increased financial obligations in your own household.
Child support and spousal support are usually temporary
In most states, child support and spousal support payments are scheduled for a specific period of time. When a child reaches age 18, child support payments typically cease. Regarding spousal support, the court considers the longevity of the marriage and bases the duration of payments on a percentage of the length of the marriage.
Modification must be granted before changes are implemented
If you have an existing child support or spousal support court order, you and your ex must adhere to its terms. Even if a problem arises that is making it difficult or impossible for you to make a payment, you are obligated to fulfill the terms of the agreement that you signed. If you fail to do so, the court may hold you in contempt.
As mentioned earlier, there are many legitimate reasons to request child support or spousal support modification; however, you must allow the legal process to unfold by filing a petition, then awaiting the court’s decision. In some cases, a judge will deny a request for modification. Only after the court has granted your request and issued a modified court order can you reduce or pause your payments. Even if you and your ex agree to a change, you cannot make a change without the court’s approval.