Modification & Termination
If there have been significant changes in circumstances since the entry of the last order or judgment in your case, then you may be entitled to a modification or change to address the developments. Generally, in order for the court to be allowed to modify a prior order, there must be a “material change in circumstance”.
For some examples of types of modifications in family legal matters:
- Changes in ex-spouses’ incomes
- Child Support
- Changes in parents’ incomes
- Changes in child’s expenses
- Emancipation of a child when support paid for multiple children
- Parenting and Physical Child Custody
- Changes affecting a child
- Changes affecting a parent
- Decision Making and Legal Child Custody
Whether a significant change in circumstance is “material” will depend upon the unique facts of each case. Termination is related to but separate from modification. Some events cause child support or alimony to terminate automatically (so, without a court deciding that support should terminate), however this may not automatically end an earnings withholding order or other court order under which wages are withheld to pay support. Sometimes, it is necessary to file with the court to formalize a termination and stop wage withholding.
Also, circumstances can arise allowing for a temporary suspension or temporary termination of child support. Even if parties agree to stop child support, the agreement is not the same as revising the support order. Likewise, some alimony agreements allow for suspension of alimony, which may require a court to step in to decide if suspension is appropriate.
Similarly, financial circumstances may change to justify a termination of alimony if a court decides that termination is necessary to “avoid a harsh and inequitable result” or the parties’ alimony agreement allows termination. Unless parties mutually agree to the termination, this requires court intervention.
When modification and termination issues arise in a family legal matter, my client and I work together to:
- Assess the likelihood of modification or termination
- Evaluate potential outcomes and calculate potential support in a modification
- Develop legal strategy to prosecute or defend a claim
- Pursue my client’s rights and strategy in settlement and litigation