Grounds for a Post-Divorce Modification
A person may seek to decrease or increase the payment amount that is required under a spousal support or child support order. This person could be the payer or the recipient of the support.
Here are some of the grounds that are commonly used to petition modifications:
- An involuntary decrease in income (such as if a job loss occurred, or a reduction in hours or pay);
- The inability of the payer to work (such as if the payer becomes injured or ill);
- An increase in the payer’s income;
- A significant increase or decrease in living expenses;
- A significant increase or decrease in medical expenses;
- A change in the legitimate needs of the spouse or child who receives support;
- The new ability of the spousal support recipient to work;
- The spousal supports the recipient’s remarriage.
While parental rights are taken into consideration when considering child custody, these decisions boil down to what is best for the child’s wellbeing. For this reason, it will be crucial for you to show that the modification you are seeking is in your child’s best interests.
Here are a few grounds that may merit a child custody modification:
- There is a claim that the parent who currently has custody is not fit to care for the child—such as if that parent is abusing drugs, mentally unstable, or abusing or neglecting the child;
- There has been a significant change in the child’s needs (such as medical or educational needs) that requires a change in the custody arrangement;
- The child’s current home environment is harmful to his or her development or well-being.
When determining which custody arrangement is best for the child, the court will evaluate the circumstances and living situations of both parents, as well as the child’s current needs. A guardian ad litem (or a legal advocate for the child) may even be assigned to the case to investigate these facts and report them back to the court.