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After your divorce is final, you may feel a sense of deep relief, among other emotions. However, if there are children or if spousal support was ordered, you may have to revisit certain issues down the road. Child custody, visitation, and child or spousal support are subject to modifications when there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Slightly different rules apply depending on whether the modification is for child custody or support. At the Calderone Law Firm, our family law attorneys can help people in the Manhattan Beach area and beyond seek a modification after the final judgment in a divorce.

Pursuing a Modification of a Court Order

In California, a parent who seeks a custody modification must show that there has been a significant change of circumstances since the final order and that the change proposed is in the child's best interest.

For example, if one parent routinely misses spending court-ordered time with children, and the child is depressed because of this, the other spouse can potentially ask for a modification to the visitation schedule. In another example, if one parent who has joint custody started abusing alcohol after the final order, the other parent may request a modification to custody on the grounds that there has been a significant change in circumstances and the change is in the child's best interest. Other common reasons for visitation modification include physical or emotional abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, or a long-distance move.

When one or both parents' incomes have changed, it may be appropriate to request a modification of child support. However, it is usually not appropriate to request a modification when a change is temporary. Generally, the change must be significant and permanent.

There are numerous reasons to change a spousal support order. It may be the case that the person paying the support has experienced a significant income drop and cannot afford to pay, or perhaps the spouse who was receiving support has gotten a better job or married someone else. Under Family Code section 4323(a)(1), there is a rebuttable presumption that an ex-spouse needs less spousal support if he or she is cohabiting with a non-marital partner in a romantic relationship. Sometimes a change is requested because the spouse receiving support is not trying to become self-supporting.

In some cases, ex-spouses can agree on a new spousal support amount and simply need to work out a written agreement or stipulation to present to the judge. Often, however, ex-spouses cannot agree on the change, and whichever spouse wants a change must file a motion with the court asking it to modify the amount. In certain cases, spousal support cannot be modified because the judge specified that it could not be modified in the initial order.

Explore Your Options with a Divorce Attorney in Manhattan Beach

Most people's lives do not remain static after a divorce. They may lose their jobs, become disabled, or retire. If you need a modification to a child custody or support order, you can enlist the Manhattan Beach lawyers at the Calderone Law Firm. We represent clients in Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, and Torrance. Contact us at (310) 706-4101 or via our online form to arrange an appointment.