Modification of Existing Court Orders
After a divorce or paternity judgment / court order enters, things can change that necessitate or permit the judgment / court order to be modified. In many cases, a modification is warranted by changed facts or circumstances. In other cases, a modification is warranted by changes to the law. Two classic examples of changes to the law, which warrant changes to existing court orders, are the adoption of comprehensive alimony reform statutes, and the regular updates to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. If you believe a modification is warranted, or have been served with a complaint for modification, you should contact an experienced family law attorney today.
How difficult it will be to obtain a modification varies on a case by case basis. In cases where the amount of the parties’ incomes is not in dispute, modifications to child support amounts are in theory supposed to be relatively straightforward. In cases dealing with alimony and health insurance, the language of the parties divorce agreement (if one was reached) can affect what legal standard the judge must use in determining if a change is warranted.
Changes to custody and visitation, are often complex, and at times much more contested than simple changes to child support amounts based solely on the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. Unlike child support cases where the judge can look to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines for direction, the judge in a custody and visitation case must determine what is in the child’s best interests. Changes in custody are also often vigorously contested. Reasons include the obvious as well as less obvious, which is that changes in custody affect child support obligations.
Under the Probate and Family Court’s Supplemental Rule 412, uncontested and joint modification requests can be acted upon, in some cases, without either side having to appear before a judge. However you wish to proceed, our experienced family law attorneys will gladly assist you in preparing the joint modification request or in filing for a modification on a contested basis where appropriate.
If you are considering or have been served with a modification request, please contact an experienced family law attorney at LaFountain & Wollman, P.C., for a consultation today. The only caveat is we cannot represent both parties to a proposed modification request, as our professional and ethical responsibilities prohibit such under any circumstances.