Bruce C. Zivley, Attorney at Law

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Will your job change mean a divorce decree modification?

A change in circumstances often leads to the request by one party or the other for a modification to the divorce agreement they originally signed. For example, if you have just landed your dream job but must take a cut in pay until you learn the ropes and are eligible for promotion, you might ask that your ex-spouse temporarily assume more of the financial responsibility for the raising of your young son. However, a change in income is just one of the drivers behind the need for a divorce decree modification.

You must demonstrate the need

As time goes on, your child will grow from a kindergartner to a teenager. If you have gone all this time without the need for a divorce decree modification, you are to be congratulated. Many divorced couples have gone through a series of modifications by the time their children reach the teen years. When something comes up, the court will require you to demonstrate the need. It might be that with your new job, you will be relocating to another city, or that your child has become seriously ill and more money will be needed for medicine and doctor's appointments. It might even be that you and your teenager are arguing constantly and you feel he would be better off by going to live with the other parent.

Trouble with the new stepparent

If your ex-spouse remarries, a new stepparent will enter your child's life. Things may go well enough to begin with, but over time you may notice changes in your child's attitude or beliefs. You may begin to feel that the stepparent is allowing him or her to get away with things you never permit, or is giving advice that conflicts with what you have been trying to teach. If you feel that your child is not being raised properly by the stepparent, there is reason for you to look into a divorce decree modification that would address this concern. The judge who reviews your request will decide in the best interests of the child.

Changing how child support is handled

If you want to make changes to the custody or visitation terms of your divorce agreement, you must present the changes to the court in writing. When you want to alter the terms pertaining to your child support, and the changes reduce, suspend or altogether stop the child support payments you have been making, you must enter a new court order or risk being found in contempt.

If you and your ex disagree

Many divorce decree modifications can be settled without hearings or trials. The agreement between you and your ex-spouse can be written into an order to be signed by your attorneys who will then present it to a judge for approval. If you and your ex cannot agree, however, you can rely on an experienced divorce attorney to help resolve the matter.

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