Rockland County Post-Divorce Modifications Lawyer
At the end of a divorce case, the judge issues a final decree or judgment that dissolves the marriage and sets out final orders regarding matters such as the distribution of assets, the custody of the children, child support, and spousal support, aka alimony or maintenance. Absent an appeal, these orders are final. Things change, however, and sometimes the custody arrangement no longer works as it was meant to, or a party’s needs regarding support payments change. If the change is substantial, the parties can go back to court and ask the judge to modify the court orders. If one of the parties objects to the change, then the judge will need to hold a hearing to decide whether a modification is appropriate or not. The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. can help with that. Our skilled litigator can ably represent your interests in court if you are seeking or opposing a change in custody or support. Contact our experienced Rockland County post-divorce modifications lawyer today.
Can Child Custody Be Modified in New York?
The needs of children change as they get older and start school or change schools, enter puberty, or pick up new hobbies and interests that alter their schedule. These changes can largely be predicted, and child custody schedules usually address these issues when they are created. Modifying child custody therefore typically requires a substantial and unforeseen change, such as the custodial parent needing to move far away or out of state for work or family reasons. Unless a parental relocation was provided for in the original order and doesn’t require a change in the custody schedule, the parties would need to agree on the change and have it approved by the court. If the noncustodial parent objects to the change, the court would need to hold a hearing and decide whether the relocation would be in the children’s best interests.
Can Child Support Be Modified?
If the current child support order is three years old or older, if one of the parents has undergone a change of 15% or more in their gross income, or if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the order was originally placed, one of the parents can ask the court to modify the current order. If the reason for the modification is a reduction in the paying parent’s income, the parent might have to demonstrate that this change wasn’t voluntary and they’ve tried to get employment equal to their ability. If the parent is unemployed because they are in jail, the court can approve a modification provided they aren’t in jail for failing to pay support or committing some crime against the child or the custodial parent. Also, if the paying parent owes child support, getting a modification won’t erase the amount of arrears they already owe.
Can a New York Court Modify Spousal Support?
In New York, spousal support paid after a divorce is technically known as maintenance (it used to be called alimony). For the court to modify a maintenance award, the party seeking the modification must be able to prove a substantial change in circumstances. Examples might include an increase or decrease in either party’s income (change in needs or ability to pay) or a change in the recipient’s living arrangements. If spousal support is currently being paid pursuant to a prenuptial agreement, then either the parties must agree to the modification or the court will demand that the change in circumstances be especially substantial. This is because the judge is modifying a contract between the parties and not just an order of the court.
Contact The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine Today
New York family law attorney Robert Sunshine is a skilled divorce litigator ready to argue your case in court when you are seeking or opposing a proposed change in court orders. For help with your case in the Lower Hudson Valley in Downstate New York, contact our experienced Rockland County post-divorce modifications lawyer today.