Changing Spousal & Child Support Obligations through Post Divorce Modification
August 17, 2015
When you finalize a divorce, you hope that it will be the end of meeting your ex-spouse in court. However, when your divorce decree includes continuing obligations between the spouses—such as child or spousal support—you may find that you need to make adjustments to the decree over time. In most cases, you can file for a post-decree modification to ask the court to change the terms of your divorce.
In cases of child support obligations, there are many different circumstances that can trigger a need for a modification. A change, upwards or downwards, of the income of either parent could indicate that a change in child support is warranted. Additionally, if the child is spending more time than anticipated at one parent's home, the child support order may need to be adjusted to reflect that fact. Health changes or unforeseen expenses in caring for the child can also be factors that require the support amount to be modified.
In most situations, spousal support can be modified, or even terminated if circumstances change. A loss of income by the paying ex-spouse or an increase of income by the beneficiary spouse, can prompt such a change. The spouse that was being supported may remarry, and thus, spousal support would need to be terminated. The support may have been intended to help one spouse attend school and once the spouse completes school, the support may need to be terminated.
In order to modify either child support obligations or spousal support obligations, you have to file in the same court that issued the divorce. Typically, you will go before the same judge. The specific rules for changing support orders can vary by state or county, so you should consult an experienced family law attorney in your area to determine whether or not you should file for a modification in your specific situation.