Fairfield County Post Judgment Modification Lawyer

Post Judgment Modifications Explained

While many court decisions are final, in some cases it’s possible to petition the court to make changes to an existing order or arrangement. Our life circumstances change, so it’s important for our legal system to have the flexibility to make accommodations for such changes.

The most common legal venue for post judgment modifications are family courts. These courts have the ability to modify existing child support, child custody and spousal support orders.

In order to have a modification order approved, the party seeking the modification must typically demonstrate that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. Such changes are often — but not exclusively — financial in nature.

Let’s take a closer look at these three common modification types, and discuss some reasons why people may need to pursue them.

Child Support Modifications

Child support orders are open to modification by courts if a change in circumstances occurs, and these requests for changes may be short-term or permanent.

Courts generally use precise formulas that take into account the relative income of each parent when establishing child support payments. There are several reasons why one (or both) parents may choose to seek a modification. These include:

  • Reduced or lost income. In some cases, parents paying child support may have their income significantly reduced or eliminated and can no longer meet the monthly support obligation. Additionally, the primary caregiver may also seek a modification if an income reduction means this person can no longer support the child with the existing payment structure.
  • Cost increases. As children age, the cost of caring for them often increases. A parent who is shouldering additional expenses (education, orthodontia, etc.) may seek a modification in order to make up this difference.
  • Remarriage or increased family responsibilities. If a parent paying child support remarries or has more children, that parent may seek a modification to lower the existing support payment.
  • Change in financial fortune. If a paying parent suddenly has a substantial change in fortune (winning a lottery, receiving an inheritance etc.) the custodial payment may seek a modification in order to receive a larger support payment.

Child Custody Modifications

As with child support orders, sometimes changing circumstances warrant a new evaluation of an existing child custody order.

Generally, courts determine custody arrangements based on the best interests of the child in question. Subsequent events, however, may change this determination.

Some of the most common reasons why a child custody order would be pursued include:

  • The child is in danger. Domestic violence, drug use, physical and mental abuse and neglect and failure to properly care for a child are all grounds for a custody modification.
  • Non-compliance with an existing order. If one parent refuses to comply with an existing custody order, a judge may modify that order and change the terms of custody.
  • If a parent plans on moving a considerable distance, a court may consider modifying an existing custody agreement. Courts will typically evaluate the reason for the move, the distance and any disruption it may have on the existing custody arrangement/visitation schedule.
  • The passing of a parent. Under such circumstances, a court may need to determine if the non-custodial parent should assume full responsibility for custody, or if a third-party needs to be involved in some capacity. Courts generally favor keeping children with non-custodial parents in such situations, unless there is some extenuating circumstance.

Modification of Spousal Support Orders

Connecticut law also allows for the modification of alimony orders, although modifications may not be possible if the divorce agreement explicitly states that the spousal support order is non-modifiable.

In order to win an alimony modification request, a petitioner typically needs to show that there has been a significant change in circumstances that affects one or both of the parties. Minor income fluctuations do not generally warrant a modification.

Under Connecticut law, courts receiving alimony modification requests must determine if a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. These changes are not always purely financial; lost employment or serious health issues may be effective grounds for a modification.

Other common reasons why a court may choose to modify an alimony order include:

  • Death of one of the parties to the order
  • Retirement of one of the parties
  • Remarriage of one of the parties
  • Changes in living quarters or cohabitation

Courts that find that a substantial change has occurred have the discretion to make an adjustment in spousal support, and possibly make that adjustment retroactive.

The Importance of Finding the Right Post Judgment Modification Advocate

Pursuing a post judgment modification in Connecticut family court requires filing a motion (which involves filling out two legal forms). In cases where children are involved, an affidavit concerning children must also be filed.

As the modification proceeds, financial affidavits and other supporting materials must typically be submitted. For those without a legal background, the process can be intimidating and time-consuming.

Post-judgment modifications are often both complex to pursue and challenging to win without the assistance of an experienced attorney who specializes in the practice.

Additionally, it’s important to partner with a firm that’s rooted in the community, and has an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of state laws.

If you or your ex-partner has experienced a substantial change in circumstance, Brickley Law can help you pursue legal remedies to create a more fair and just situation.

We urge you to call us today to learn more about how we can help you with post-judgment modifications. Consultations are always free.

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