Experienced Central Valley Divorce Law Firm
Problematic divorce judgments may seem “final,” but it’s important not to resign yourself to the outcome long-term. In truth, California law entitles ex-spouses to petition the family court so as to modify the judgment after-the-fact — though one’s ability to do so can vary wildly from case-to-case.
Whether you are entitled to seek a post-divorce modification to a court order depends on a number of different factors — more fundamentally, however, qualification depends on the nature of the modification sought.
Common Post-Judgment Modifications in Divorce Matters
Court judgments relating to a parent’s child custody rights — custody and visitation — can be modified later on, but there must be:
- a significant change in circumstances; and
- the modification must be consistent with the best interests of the child.
It’s worth noting that a significant change in circumstances (i.e., changes in work schedule, geographical move, etc.) may not be necessary if the modification is only seeking a visitation schedule change as opposed to a change in custody altogether — still, the modification cannot disadvantage the child in any way inconsistent with his or her best interests.
In California, child support payments are determined on the basis of statutory guidelines, and as such, there must be sufficiently “changed circumstances” — in accordance with the applicable guidelines — to justify a modification.
Changed circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- Income changes (either or both parents);
- Parental imprisonment;
- Termination of employment;
- Either parent has taken on additional children;
- Modifications to custody/visitation;
- The child’s financial needs have changed.
Whatever decision the judge makes will be in keeping with statutory guidelines.
Spousal Support (Alimony)
Spousal support can be modified up to the end of the term of support, which is meant to be temporary — this is quite different to child support, which lasts until the age of majority. Spousal support is awarded on the basis of 13 specific statutory factors, but courts may exercise discretion in considering them. Modification based on changed circumstances must therefore pertain to these factors.
Factors include, but are not limited to:
- Supporting party’s ability to pay (taking into account earning capacity, assets, and standard of living);
- Needs of each party based on standard of living established during marriage;
- Duration of marriage;
- Age and health of both parties;
- Extent to which the supported party contributed to the education, training, and career of the supporting party.
Contact MCJG for Post-Divorce Modification Assistance with a Top Central Valley Divorce Attorney
If you would like to initiate a proceeding to modify a court judgment post-divorce, we encourage you to contact an attorney at our Stockton divorce law firm as soon as possible for expert guidance on what steps to take going forward.
McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau, LLP is a full-service firm with an extensive family law practice, including representation in a variety of challenging divorce matters — both before and after a court judgment has been executed.
Call us at 209-477-8171 or complete an online intake form to schedule a free initial consultation today. Though our office is located in Stockton, CA, we regularly handle post-divorce modifications for clients located throughout the state of California and the Central Valley.