Change in Circumstances
Analysis of the changed circumstances arguments begins about 100 years ago in New York jurisprudence. It involves the unique, dual nature of matrimonial agreements and judgments. New York courts understandably have a very strong preference to uphold the negotiated marital settlement agreement and to strive for consistency. Generations of disgruntled litigants have returned to the courtroom with creative arguments why their particular agreement or judgment is not fair and reasonable, or has become stale. Usually the law does not inquire into what is referred to as the "adequacy of consideration". But the children did not sign the settlement agreement. Circumstances change over the years. Unlike the ordinary commercial settlement or judgments, noncompliance may result in incarceration.
The Courts will recognize that marital settlements and judgments should not be set in stone. At the Robert G. Smith, PLLC law firm, you will have the benefit of a skilled, experienced New York divorce modification lawyer. When your circumstances change, or your spouse claims that they have, you should consult legal counsel to help you achieve the most positive outcome possible on the divorce modification application.
Issues for Modification
Many of the arrangements in a divorce settlement of agreement can be open for modification in the right circumstances. In my 35 years as an attorney, I have helped many clients, including high net worth divorce clients and high-profile clients, work through modifications involving issues like:
Substantial Change in Circumstance
Circumstances change for everyone - it is an essential part of life. For this reason, it is possible to petition the court for a modification of the divorce decree when you experience a substantial change in circumstances, such as:
- Relocation: Provided that you are vigilant in asserting and protecting your parental prerogatives, the other parent is not allowed to simply move out of the jurisdiction without court permission. Such conduct may not be in a child's best interests. It could damage and impair the child's right of parental access with both parents, and impose extreme financial hardships on the other parent. Generally speaking, you need to act within six months. At the Robert G. Smith, PLLC law firm, I have successfully tried several custodial relocation cases.
- Financial shifts: Sudden and significant financial shifts include losing a job or gaining a new job or promotion. In many cases, the moneyed spouse, who is paying child support or spousal support, loses a job or takes a financial hit on an ill-advised set of investments. If this change in circumstance is substantial enough, it is possible to convince the court to lower the required payments every pay period. On the other hand, the financial situation of the non-moneyed spouse might get even worse, requiring higher payments from the spouse with the higher annual income.
- Remarriage: Another popular reason for modifying a divorce decree is that someone from the divorce is getting remarried. Especially when there are children involved, it is wise to discuss and finalize, in some legally official way, your agreements regarding blended families and how that situation will affect child custody and visitation issues.
Every court has its own language and set of norms. As a New York native and an attorney with 35 years of experience, I know the courts and the people who work in the courts. I am a regular. I speak the language of these courts, and I know how to get things done in this system on behalf of my clients.
Manhattan Child Custody Modification
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