Post-Judgment Modifications Lawyer

In California, it is possible to modify judgments involving custody, child support, and spousal support. However, one should approach modifications in an efficient, organized manner, as there are specific rules and regulations to keep in mind.

A consultation with a post-judgment modifications lawyer can provide detailed, targeted guidance based on the unique circumstances of each situation. Choose the Cherish Om Law Office and discuss this subject further to assess the most appropriate course of action.

Modification Requirements in California

Modifications of judgments cannot be made on a whim in California. The most important requirement is a substantial change in circumstance. In other words, a petitioner should only pursue a modification if dramatic life changes occur after the initial judgment. A post-judgment modification attorney can help determine whether a significant change has occurred.

Several potential situations may lead to modifications of judgments in California. We will discuss a few of the most common ones below.

Child Custody and Visitation Modification

A parent may work with a post-judgment modification lawyer to modify their child custody and visitation judgments after changes in circumstance. As with all legal matters regarding child custody, family courts in California will consider the best interests of the minor when approaching modifications.

When determining these interests, courts will assess many factors. They may decide modifications are justified for any of the following reasons:

  • Disability. If a parent becomes disabled, this may constitute a serious change in circumstance. Whether mental or physical, the disability may prevent the parent from caring for the child efficiently. This may lead courts to modify the custody judgment, potentially awarding sole physical custody to the healthy parent.
  • Income. If a parent begins to struggle financially, this may also constitute a change in circumstance that necessitates modification. For example, the parent may lose their job and struggle to pay for rent, food, utilities and other necessities.
  • Abuse. Perhaps the most pressing reason to modify a custody arrangement is the discovery of child abuse. If family courts have reason to suspect that a parent is committing domestic abuse, they will take away physical custody and award it to the other parent. This includes domestic violence against someone other than the child, such as a grandparent or uncle.
  • Neglect. Neglect is the failure to care for a child. Courts may modify custody if a parent fails to properly feed, clothe, bathe, or supervise the child. Another example of child neglect is child endangerment, which includes driving intoxicated with a minor passenger.
  • Relocation. If a parent moves to a different location, courts may modify the custody judgment accordingly. The purpose of this modification is to prevent unnecessary stress for children subjected to regular, time-consuming travel.
  • Incarceration. If one parent becomes incarcerated, they are by default no longer able to care for their children. Custody may be modified by courts accordingly.
  • Legal custody disputes. Parents who disagree on how to raise their children may pursue post-judgment modifications to resolve these disputes. Common arguments for parents revolve around religion, education, and health care. After considering the issue at hand, courts may modify legal custody judgments and give one parent sole decision-making authority.
  • Preference. In some cases, courts may modify custody arrangements in a divorce order if the child expresses a preference to live with one parent rather than the other.
  • Academic performance. If a child’s academic performance begins to decline while living with one parent, courts may modify custody to place the child in a stable environment that is more conducive to their schoolwork. 

Ultimately, many different circumstances may warrant a modification to a custody or visitation arrangement. If you believe your situation may warrant a change, it’s a good idea to speak with a post-judgment modifications attorney right away.

Child Support Modification

Parents can also modify child support judgments for a variety of reasons. The California Department of Child Support Services highlights a few examples:

  • Income. If the income of either parent changes, this may justify the modification of a child support order. A parent who receives a raise may need to pay more in child support. Conversely, a parent who is laid off or demoted may modify child support and subsequently pay a more appropriate sum.
  • Custody. If a parent loses primary physical custody, there is no longer a legal justification for them to receive child support. The same is true in reverse.
  • Incarceration. If a parent becomes incarcerated, their inability to earn an income may justify the modification of child support. If they were the primary custodial guardian before their incarceration, they will likely stop receiving child support payments.
  • Military service. In some cases, military service – including active deployment – can justify the modification of child custody.
  • New children. If a parent welcomes a new child into their family, they may also seek to modify child support due to the increased costs associated with caring for another dependent.

If any of the factors described above apply to your situation, you may want to explore a post-judgment modification. An experienced attorney can help determine your eligibility.

Spousal Support Modifications

Many divorced spouses pay or receive spousal support (also known as alimony). However, as their financial situations change, their original agreements may need to change as well. California residents can seek to modify spousal support for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Retirement. Unlike child support, spousal support may end at retirement.
  • Inheritance. If an ex-spouse inherits a sum of money, they may lose their right to receive alimony.
  • Cohabitation. If a spouse begins living with a new partner, they may stop receiving alimony because they are no longer financially dependent. This includes remarriage.
  • Income. If the person paying alimony suddenly experiences a drop in income, they may be able to modify their spousal support judgment.
  • Disability. A spouse who is no longer able to earn an income due to disability may have the opportunity to modify their spousal support order.
  • Incarceration. A spouse who becomes incarcerated may also have the ability to cease alimony payments.

Do you believe you’re paying too much or receiving too little in spousal support? Contact a trusted family and divorce attorney to review the details of your situation.

How a Judgement Modification Attorney Can Help

A family law attorney can help a petitioner modify their court order by executing various strategies. These crucial services may include the following:

  • Determining whether a modification is possible
  • Gathering evidence to support your claim for a modification
  • Facilitating negotiations between parties
  • In-person representation during court hearings
  • Appealing modification decisions

Even if you end up not pursuing post-judgement modifications (or are ineligible to do so), you may still benefit from speaking with an attorney about your legal options.

Is Modification Necessary?

Spouses should strive to work out their differences outside of court if possible. Through mediation or private discussions, both parties may arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement without time-consuming, expensive litigation. This is often the most preferable course of action, and a divorce attorney can help facilitate productive negotiations.

Contact an Experienced Modification of Judgment Attorney

With years of experience in family law matters, the Cherish Om Law Office can lead petitioners in California toward modifications that meet their unique family and financial needs. Reach out today to receive targeted legal advice during an initial consultation with our law firm.

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