Divorces can be messy, take a long time to resolve, and cause significant stress. Because of this, you probably will not be eager to reopen old wounds by attempting to modify the terms of your divorce or custody and visitation agreement. However, sometimes, the circumstances of your life dictate that a change must be made. In this situation, a Fairfax divorce modifications attorney can help.
At Melone Hatley, P.C., we understand the challenges that attempting to modify the terms of a divorce can create. Our team of experienced Fairfax divorce lawyers will work tirelessly to win your case and make the process as stress-free as possible. Get in touch today to learn more about your legal rights through a free case review with a member of our legal team.
This guide will teach you how to identify and avoid the ten most common mistakes people make in a divorce.
After your divorce has been finalized, there are a variety of reasons why you might wish to modify the terms of the agreement. However, attempting to navigate this complicated legal process on your own can be incredibly difficult and frustrating. Fortunately, an experienced divorce modification lawyer can assist you every step of the way as they work to secure a favorable outcome for your case.
In order to start the modification process, you must first file a petition with the appropriate court. This petition will include the reasons you have for seeking an adjustment to your divorce agreement or order, along with evidence that backs up your position. After you file, the opposing party will have a chance to review your petition and respond.
The next steps will likely be for both sides to file discovery, filing motions, and setting a trial date. This all happens simultaneously as you try to settle the matter, if the other side is amicable to your requested changes.
If you are unable to agree, the next step will likely be to attend a scheduled court hearing to determine the outcome of your request. At this hearing, your Fairfax family lawyer will argue your case for a modification–showing that since the entry of the order, there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances and that a modification is now required.
Opposing counsel will have an opportunity to respond, and after both sides have completed their arguments, the court will decide whether or not to grant the modification.
Of course, you may not be the one requesting a modification. Hiring an experienced divorce modifications attorney to help you can be just as important in cases where your former spouse is attempting to modify the terms of your divorce settlement. Even if you overall agree with the changes being requested, it is imperative to ensure that you have an experienced attorney on your side to discuss the full ramifications of the modification as well as ensure that the new order is drafted fairly for you.
The legal team at Melone Hatley, P.C. will work diligently to protect your rights and help ensure an outcome that works for you.
There are several types of modifications you may attempt or want to make to your divorce settlement or order. Some of the most common modifications that people seek involve:
There are various changes in your life, the life of your former spouse, or your children that may cause you to seek modifications to your child custody arrangement. Some of the factors that can lead to this type of modification include:
If you or your former spouse remarry, start living with a new partner, or face some other change to the setup of either household, it may create a need for a change to your child custody agreement or child custody order. This is especially true if a new living arrangement creates concerns about the safety and well being of your children.
A change in your work schedule or that of your former partner can impact when you have availability to care for your child, which could necessitate an adjustment to your custody arrangement. Furthermore, if one parent needs to relocate for work, a joint custody setup may no longer be a viable option.
If one parent needs to relocate out of the area, relocation cases raise significant issues that are different from a normal custody and visitation modification. Read more about relocation with a child post separation or divorce here.
If one parent moves into a new home with drastically different living conditions, the new setup may prove more or less suitable for children, which could be a cause for altering the custody agreement.
In some cases, one parent will move with a partner that presents a danger to your child.
If either parent undergoes a substantial and material change in their financial situation, it could be grounds to revisit the current child support arrangement. For example, if the parent currently paying child support loses their job, they may no longer be able to pay child support in the amount agreed upon at the time of the divorce.
Alternatively, a substantial raise in salary for the paying parent could mean they need to contribute more. Meanwhile, if the parent receiving child support sees a large increase in their pay or loses their job, the amount they receive from their former partner could be drastically reduced or increased respectively.
Modifications can also be necessary when the expenses for the care of the child drastically change. For example if a child no longer needs daycare or if there is a change to the amount that health insurance costs for the child, that may be grounds for a modification.
If modifications were made to the child custody agreement and primary custody shifts from one parent to the other, the parent who previously received child support may be forced to pay support instead.
Like with modifications to child support, changes to your spousal support agreement can be requested if either party undergoes a change to their employment status or a significant change to their salary. This all depends on whether the child support award was modifiable or non-modifiable. You can read more about spousal support here.
If you are looking to modify the amount of spousal support you are paying or receiving, an experienced divorce modification attorney serving Fairfax can help.
If the circumstances of your life dictate that changes must be made to your divorce agreement or divorce order, the best way to secure the modifications you seek is by hiring an experienced divorce modification attorney. At Melone Hatley, P.C., we have helped thousands of clients get the adjustments they desire over the last 10+ years.
Contact us today by completing our online contact form or giving us a call to schedule your free initial case evaluation with a member of our team.
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