After getting a divorce, you might find that you later need to change some of the terms from your divorce agreement. Roseville Divorce Attorney Frank F. Ali is able to help individuals get these changes, or modifications, formalized. Below, our team at the Law Offices of Frank F. Ali has provided answers to some of the common questions that individuals ask when going through this process.
What types of Family Court orders can I get modified?
Spousal support, child support, child custody and visitation orders are some of the most common Family Court orders that individuals try to modify after divorce. The person petitioning for the modification might be asking to pay a lower monthly amount of support, to receive a higher monthly amount of support, to take custody away from another parent or to increase one's visitation hours.
How do I qualify for a post-divorce modification?
If you and your former spouse cannot agree on a change of terms, you will need to petition for a modification to be made through the court. The person petitioning for modification must present strong grounds for the change, as the court will usually only consider issuing a new order if there is a major change in the circumstances of the parties involved. Here are a few examples: a parent lost a job or had a significant change in income, a parent has become incarcerated, or the child's needs have changed in a major way (such as a need for a higher amount of child support due to a health condition). If the court determines the change to be in the child's best interests, it may end up granting the modification.
Can my former spouse and I just make the modification through a verbal agreement?
Unless your agreement has been signed by the judge, you are still legally beholden to your previous court order. This means that even if you and the other party in your former marriage verbally agree to new terms, you will need to get a written agreement signed by a judge and obtain a new court order. By failing to obtain an official modification through the court, you could end up putting yourself at risk. For example, you could easily be found in violation of your court order (or in "contempt of court") if you do not pay the previously established amount of child support or spousal support.
Can my child support order be modified retroactively?
No. In California, the change to your child support order can only become effective starting on the date that you filed your petition for a modification. Use this scenario as an example: A man loses his job and therefore loses his income, but he does not apply for a modification to his child support order until two month later. Even if he receives a modification by the court and his monthly child support obligation is significantly lowered, the lower payment amount will not apply to the past two months. He will still have to pay what was originally owed for those two months, despite his lack of income.
If you would like to learn more about the post-divorce modification process, do not hesitate to contact us. We can provide you with the information you need!