The decisions made by the court during divorce do not have to be permanent, and, in fact, are not meant to be permanent in most cases. Because virtually everyone’s financial situation changes throughout their lives and you may have remarried, you may have become sick, or you may have had additional children, court orders are meant to be accommodating. Nothing is set in stone, which is why talking to a Santa Barbara lawyer can be incredibly beneficial whether your concerns surround spousal support, child support, child custody, or visitation rights.
There are many reasons to seek a post-judgment modification of a family court order in Santa Barbara. Valid reasons include a change in the needs or circumstance of either party or because one party is not following through on his or her court-ordered obligations. At the Law Offices of Evan Braunstein, Santa Barbara modification of orders lawyer, Evan Braunstein, has experience preparing, negotiating, and litigating in court for modification of a variety of orders.
While some matters are resolved with finality, such as the division of property, other areas of a Santa Barbara divorce agreement can be modified when a party’s circumstances change. The three areas that typically have grounds for modification including child support, child custody, and spousal support or alimony.
Child Support: Child Support is a formula based on several factors and is calculated with a computer program such as Dissomaster. If there is a change of circumstances and any of the factors in the formula change (e.g., either party’s income or the custody timeshare with the children), then the parties may be entitled to a modification of child support. Common reasons that child support should be modified include the following:
Other reasons exist that could affect how much you pay in child support, as the noncustodial parent, or how much you receive if you are the custodial parent. For example, if you, as the noncustodial parent, go to jail or prison, it is strongly advised to contact an attorney at once. AB 610 provides for the immediate suspension of support orders when a California resident goes to jail or prison unless they have means to pay the order while they are incarcerated. You still must notify the other party of the modification. Additionally, if you are the custodial parent, you may be able to challenge the incarceration modification by proving that the payor does have financial means to continue payments, according to California’s Child Support Handbook. Regardless of your specific circumstances, an experienced Santa Barbara attorney will be able to answer your questions and help get you started on the right path to reach your child support modification goals.
Child Custody and Visitation: A court order or an agreement for child custody can be modified either by the court or by the parties. As children grow up, their needs and interests may change. The situations of the parents may also change necessitating a modification of the custody agreement. This can be the case in a “move away” situation where one parent wishes to move to another county, state, or country and take the children, dramatically affecting the custody/visitation opportunities for the other parent. According to the U.S. Census and reported by the Atlantic, the average American moves 11 times in their lifetime. Moving across town might not affect a family plan, but moving out of state probably will. In fact, having a job that keeps a parent on the move, or if they are constantly moving around for other reasons, may be reason in and of itself to drastically change the custody situation. One of the factors that California courts look at the most closely is the stability of the child’s life, which is obviously thrown off if they are moving every other year. Other reasons for pursuing a child custody modification include:
Spousal Support: Spousal support can be modified by either party. Typically, one party either requests more support or asks to pay less support. Parties may also seek to modify the duration of support or seek to terminate support. Our attorneys understand that either party may wish to modify a spousal support agreement–the payor may not have the funds to continue the payments or the lower-earning spouse’s financial situation may have improved since the order was made. Or, the opposite may be true, and the receiving spouse may require additional spousal support or an extended period of support. Under California Family Code statute 4320, both of the parties’ ages and health are taken into account when determining spousal support, which means that if one party has a serious decline in health, earning ability, and/or medical needs, spousal support could potentially be altered in either direction. Other factors that could impact spousal support include:
If you have recently experienced a change in your material circumstances, the Law Offices of Evan Braunstein in Santa Barbara can provide you with representation to guide you through the process of modifying orders in a judgment of dissolution. Our compassionate and highly knowledgeable divorce modification lawyers will strive to help you meet your goals, whether they include child custody, alimony, or child support modifications.