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Post-Judgment Modification Attorneys in Bend, Oregon

In family law cases, the court will issue orders regarding such matters as child custody, child support, and spousal support, also known as “alimony.” These orders are part of a divorce, paternity, or custody judgment.  

Because these are court orders, those subject to them must comply with them. However, the circumstances under the judge’s consideration at the time of original issuance may change, which is why the law accommodates a process for requesting post-judgment modifications.  

If you are wondering whether an order is eligible for revision, or if your ex-spouse, ex-partner, or the other parent is requesting it, you need to find out what is involved in the process. At Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law, we represent clients in Bend, Sunriver, Sisters, Redmond, and Prineville, Oregon, seeking or objecting to modifications to divorce judgments, or to child custody, or child or spousal support.

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What Is a Post-Judgment Modification? 

A post-judgment modification is any change to a judgment issued by the court in divorce, separation, or paternity actions. Modifications include revisions as well as setting aside an existing order.  

There are three types of modifications: modification of child custody and modification of child support, modification of spousal support, and modification in cases of contempt.  

If a parent or ex-spouse fails to comply with the provisions in an existing decree, they may be held in contempt of court. Among the penalties the judge can impose if there is contempt of a family law order is a modification to any standing court orders.  

When Can Child Custody or Support Orders Be Modified? 

The primary consideration of the court in any matter involving child custody or child support is the best interest of the child at the time the judgment is signed. Therefore, if a parent can offer evidence that there has been a substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances from the time of the last hearing and a child’s best interest is no longer being served by an existing order, that parent can petition the court to have it modified.  

Modifications reflect a substantial and unanticipated change in the circumstances that existed at the time of the order’s issuance. Such changes might include a child becoming seriously injured or becoming an emancipated minor. Or, perhaps a child now spends more time with the non-custodial parent, which alters the parenting plan and visitation schedule in the existing order.  

A change in the health status of a parent, the loss of a job and income, a parent’s obligation to provide financial support for additional children, or a parent’s relocation or death could all provide impetus for modifications to existing orders.  

Keep in mind that child support is determined in large part by which parent has primary custody of the child. Any significant change in that circumstance can prompt a post-decree modification.  

When Can Spousal Support Orders Be Modified? 

Major factors in the awarding of spousal support are one person’s need for financial support and the other person’s ability to provide it. If a material change in either ex-spouse’s life occurs related to these factors, either of them may petition the court for a post-decree modification.  

There are many potential reasons to request a modification of alimony. If the paying ex loses their job or if they become ill or injured and unable to be employed at their current income, they may lack the original ability to provide financial support to the other ex. The reduced income must be involuntary. In other words, the paying ex cannot quit their job or take a lower-paying position to avoid paying spousal support.  

The change in circumstances may also be related to the ex receiving support. If the recipient’s health status declines or they lose their job, the order could be modified to provide more, not less, support if the paying ex has the ability to provide more. On the other hand, if the recipient ex has a significant increase in wealth, the court can modify the order to reduce or set aside the existing alimony order.  

How Can a Judgment Be Modified? 

In some cases, the parents of a child or ex-spouses or ex-partners may just agree to changes in child support and custody and spousal support. However, if one party is in contempt of a family law order, or if the parties cannot agree to changes when one of them experiences a material change in circumstances, one or both can petition the court for a post-judgment modification.  

As with any court proceeding, the party who filed the petition for change must provide proof of the circumstances prompting the request. Moreover, since decrees are court orders, parties must comply with them unless and until the court issues a new one.  

Post-judgment modifications aren’t always cut and dried. Parties seeking them, or fighting them, benefit from having an experienced family law attorney representing them.

Family Law Modifications Attorney Serving Bend, Oregon 

If you want to know if circumstances may warrant modification of an existing child custody, child support, or alimony order, or if your ex-spouse or partner or the other parent has filed for one, you should know what to expect. We can help.  

Call Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law in Bend, Oregon, to schedule a time to discuss post-judgment modifications. We are ready to meet, so call today.