Modifying Judgments When Circumstances Change
Contrary to popular belief, a divorce is never really “final.” Life moves on, oblivious to settlements we agree on, resulting in any number of lifestyle changes ? so-called “sudden, substantial changes of circumstance.” In other words, job losses, lottery wins, promotions, demotions, business and military transfers, and many others.
I am family law attorney Robert G. Smith in New York City. One of the many lessons I learned and witnessed repeatedly over more than 40 years of practice, is that courts recognize that features of marital settlements and judgments should not be set in stone.
When your circumstances change, or your former spouse claims that they have, you should consult legal counsel to help you achieve the most positive outcome possible for a divorce modification application. This what I do, every day, at my Robert G. Smith, PLLC, law office, for the benefit of satisfied clients in New York’s five boroughs and surrounding counties.
What Is A ‘Sudden, Substantial Change In Circumstance’?
Change is an essential part of life. For this reason, it is possible to petition the court for a modification of a divorce decree when you encounter a need 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 “the best interests of the child.” I have successfully tried many custodial relocation cases.
- Financial shifts. These include losing or gaining a job or promotion. In many cases, the spouse who is paying child support or spousal support takes a financial hit. If this change in circumstance is substantial enough, it is possible to convince the court to lower the required payments. I also handle enforcements of support obligations, when payment responsibilities are ignored.
- Remarriage. Especially when children are involved, it is wise to discuss and finalize, in some legally official way, an agreement regarding blended families and how a new situation would affect child custody and visitation issues.
Every court has its own language and set of norms. As a New York native and experienced lawyer, I know the courts and the people who work in them. I speak their language and know how to get things done for my clients.