Fraud Blocker

5 Situations Where You Need a Post-Judgment Modification

Most ex-couples assume that once their Final Judgment of the Dissolution of Marriage is filed, the terms of the divorce are permanent. That’s partly true, as California courts frown on arbitrarily changing one’s divorce decree. However, the law also recognizes that life is not static and will support a modification if you can demonstrate a significant change in circumstances since the divorce.

Below is an overview of five situations where a post-judgment modification may be appropriate.

1. Job Loss

Lewis has been paying child support to his former wife, Lana, who has primary physical custody of their two children. He was laid off from his construction job two years after the divorce and, with winter approaching, has not been able to find another position with comparable pay. Lewis may be able to obtain a modification that allows him to pay less child support until he is earning at least as much as he did at his construction job.

2. Relocation

Sam and Teresa have joint legal custody of their son, Malcolm, who lives with his mother and enjoys regular visits with his father. Sam, however, has just learned that his employer is opening a branch in Germany and wants to him to move there for two years to oversee its establishment. He and Teresa can apply for a modification of the child custody and visitation order to reflect this new situation.

3. Remarriage

After their 10-year-marriage ended in divorce, Charles was ordered to pay spousal support to his wife, Ellen, who was a homemaker the entire time. Three years later, Ellen remarried, and her new husband, an investment banker, makes more money than Charles does at his CPA practice. He may be able to seek a termination of the spousal support order, arguing that his former wife no longer needs financial assistance from him.

4. The Child’s Needs Change

Courts order child support amounts that are reasonably indicative of a child’s current needs. As they grow from toddlers to teenagers, the cost of keeping them fed, clothed, and involved in extracurricular activities will go up accordingly and the original support order may have to change.

Sometimes increased financial need is due to illness or developmental challenges: when Lorenzo and Sofia’s daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability and needed tutoring, the court ordered the mother to pay more child support to the father, who had primary physical custody.

5. One Spouse Committed Fraud

Unlike the custody and support terms of a California divorce decree, division of marital property is usually not modifiable after the fact. But when Simon discovered that his wife, Rachel, failed to disclose the existence of two bank accounts containing marital funds, he was able to obtain a modification of the property division to reflect these previously undisclosed assets.

Contact a California Family Law Attorney

At Ahluwalia Law P.C., we understand that your circumstances can change to the extent that the original terms of your divorce decree are neither reasonable nor fair. Attorney Madan Ahluwalia strives to make the modification process as positive as possible for everyone involved and supports mediation as an empowering and non-adversarial way of agreeing on necessary changes. For more information or to get started, contact us.