Modification of an Order/Judgment of Divorce in New York

So much can change after a divorce. Ex-spouses may remarry, obtain new jobs or promotions, lose income, or relocate. The needs of children may change or be affected by their parent’s decisions. When circumstances change significantly after a divorce, it is time to seek a modification.

Modification of child custody

Parents and children can face a change in circumstances after a final order that necessitates a modification in custody arrangements. Parents can agree to modify a custody order or go to a court for a hearing, but either way the court reviews the proposed changes to ensure they are in the best interest of the child. In order for a court to approve a modification, a change in circumstances must also be substantial, such as:

  • Relocation
  • Remarriage
  • Financial changes, such as a new job or promotion, loss of employment or transfer
  • Changes in physical or mental health
  • Changes in the relationship between the parents
  • Increased or decreased parental involvement
  • Domestic violence or criminal conviction of a parent
  • Other changes making the arrangement difficult to follow

Child support modifications

Child support is calculated based on guidelines that take into consideration factors such as the parents’ incomes and the number of children. When there is a substantial change in circumstances, child support may be modified, such as when:

  • A parent loses his or her job or income or gains income.
  • There is a change in physical custody or parenting time.
  • The child’s costs increase.

Child support may also be adjusted for cost of living.

Modifying alimony

In general, spousal maintenance is awarded for a certain length of time, such as for a set period, temporarily until a spouse secures employment, or permanently until the spouse receiving support either dies or remarries. However, a spouse may seek a support modification when there is a significant change in circumstances regarding finances, including job loss or promotion, inheritance, illness, or a good faith retirement.

Changing a final divorce, custody or support order is not always easy, but an experienced New York family law attorney can make the situation manageable and provide the support families need.

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