Post-Divorce Modifications Lawyer in Los Angeles, Helping Our Clients Adjust to New Circumstances
A divorce is never an intended outcome when two people get married. Unfortunately, statistics show that such a conclusion is far from a rarity. When individuals file for divorce, making decisions on topics like spousal support, child custody, and property division is a requirement. This is frequently handled inside a courtroom through litigation, but many former partners are able to avoid this stressful environment by reaching their own marital settlement agreement. However, what happens when circumstances change? In such situations, a post-divorce modifications lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to help.
At Kim Mediation and Law Center, we understand that a significant change in someone’s life can happen at any time. A serious injury, loss of employment, and countless other factors can create material changes in circumstances. When this occurs, it may be possible for an agreement or court order to be modified. Contact our family law firm today to get a better grasp of your situation. We offer prospective clients a free consultation at Kim Mediation and Law Center, so you have nothing to lose by seeking to better understand your rights and responsibilities.
What Is a Post-Divorce Modification?
To put it simply, a post-decree modification is any alteration in a court order or divorce agreement made once a divorce is finalized. These can occur in a variety of circumstances, and they can affect many different settlements that were documented and ordered after marriage dissolution. If you’ve experienced any of the following changes in your life following divorce, you may be able to request a modification to your divorce settlement or court orders:
Sudden change in one party’s financial situation
Development of a new relationship
The loss of a job or placement in a new job
Changes to the wishes of the child
Developments affecting child’s safety
Relocation of children or parties
As evidenced by this list, circumstantial changes must typically be substantial in nature. Even so, this list is far from exhaustive. These substantial changes usually must also be related to facts that the court or married individuals were not aware of or did not anticipate at the time of the divorce decree. If you experience any of these or other significant changes in your circumstances, speaking with a post-decree modification attorney in Los Angeles may be in your best interest.
What if I Experience a Significant Change in Circumstances?
If your expenses increase, you lose your job, or some other substantial change in circumstances has occurred, you should reach out to a legal professional. The one thing you shouldn’t do in any circumstance is to make changes without court approval. For instance, if you stop paying child support, it doesn’t matter if you did so because you lost your job. Regardless of your reasoning, you’ll be in violation of your divorce decree. This could result in significant repercussions for you.
You should never unilaterally decide to adjust agreements or court orders relating to the following:
Child custody and visitation
California law recognizes that no one’s circumstances stay the same forever. This is exactly why post-decree modifications are allowable under the law. Courts will always consider the best interests of a child when granting modification requests, but they’re not blind to situational changes. The best thing you can do is have a legal professional draft the appropriate paperwork to start the process. And if you can do this in a cooperative manner with your former spouse, the entire process can be far simpler.
What Issues Can Affect Child and Spousal Support Orders?
Substantial financial changes for any party can affect child support or alimony payments. This would make sense to most people. If the recipient spouse or paying spouse suddenly earns more or less money, the formula California uses for such payments would show just how much of a change is appropriate. There are other issues, however, that can result in modifications to child and spousal support orders:
Spousal Support Modifications
Remarriage or living with a new partner
Expenses are more or less than anticipated
Financial emergency affects the need for spousal maintenance
Temporary or permanent disability
Child Custody Modifications
Child joins the Armed Forces
Changes in residency
Child becomes emancipated
Child gets married
Child receives diagnosis of chronic illness
An important thing to remember is that California courts will only make changes they see as in the best interests of the child. Still, some of the above instances can immediately remove the financial obligations of the one parent who’s been paying support. Even in such situations, though, speaking with an attorney prior to making unilateral decisions is imperative.
Can a Child Custody Agreement Be Modified?
While most modifications involve financial support issues, it is also possible to modify child custody arrangements following a divorce. Of course, child support obligations can be directly affected by such modifications. Courts will certainly reconsider the custodial parent of a child and visitation issues if changes arise that endanger the child, but there are many other situations that are far less menacing. These include:
Work schedule change of the non-custodial parent
One or both parents experience difficulties meeting parental responsibilities
One party wishes to relocate outside of their child’s current geographical area
Preference of child-chosen custodial parent changes
The non-custodial parent has moved closer, allowing for more parenting time
Child custody and visitation issues are among the most combative topics seen in family court. With a Los Angeles post-divorce modification attorney’s help, though, it doesn’t have to be that way. Through mediation or collaborative law, it’s possible to reach a fair agreement prior to submitting paperwork. And if you and the other party have already reached an agreement, the legal professionals at Kim Mediation and Law Center can draft the appropriate documents and file them with the courts.
Contact a Post-Divorce Modification Lawyer in Los Angeles Today
Marital settlements and other agreements are based on individual circumstances at the time of a divorce decree. Of course, situations can change over time. Whereas an individual may have been able to easily pay child support or other financial obligations when their marriage ended, any change in circumstances can affect this ability. This is also true for agreements and court orders involving child custody, visitation rights, and other legal issues decided after marital dissolution. Fortunately, what was decided in a divorce decree or agreement is not necessarily set in stone. If you believe a post-divorce modification is appropriate, it’s important to speak with a family law attorney who can help.
At Kim Mediation and Law Center, our goal is to make our clients’ lives as simple as possible. In many cases, this involves creating marital settlement agreements without stepping foot into a courtroom. However, this could also mean submitting post-decree changes to the courts in order to modify a prior agreement. Whatever your specific situation, we’ll strive to help you obtain a modification to the original divorce decree without dealing with the adversarial environment of litigation. Contact us today by calling (213) 351-1000 to schedule a free consultation. With a post-divorce modification attorney in Los Angeles on your side, it’s possible to handle even complicated legal matters in a cooperative way.