In a family law case, a modification refers to a legal process through which one party seeks to change or modify a previous court order or agreement related to matters such as child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support (alimony), or other relevant issues. A modification request typically occurs when there has been a significant change in circumstances that warrants a revision of the existing order or agreement.
Here are a few common scenarios where modifications may be sought:
A parent may seek a modification if there has been a substantial change in circumstances that affects the best interests of the child. This could include situations where one parent wants to relocate, there are concerns about the child’s safety or well-being, or there has been a significant change in the parent’s availability or ability to care for the child.
If there has been a significant change in the financial situation of either parent, such as a job loss, a promotion, a change in income—whether increase or decrease, or an increase in the child’s needs, a modification of child support may be requested. The goal is to ensure that the child’s financial needs are adequately met based on the current circumstances.
Spousal support may be modifiable if there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as a change in income, employment status, health condition, or remarriage of either party. The requesting party typically needs to demonstrate that the change is significant enough to warrant a modification of the existing spousal support order.
A modification of a parenting plan may be sought if there has been a change in circumstances that affects the child’s well-being or if one parent is consistently failing to comply with the existing order. In these circumstances, a modification may be requested.
The process for seeking a modification generally involves filing a motion or supplemental petition for modification with the court that issued the original order. However, this process does not have to be initiated in Court first, but rather it can begin via the direct informal or formal negotiations or within the collaborative process. Once a resolution is reached, then the modified agreements can be filed in Court in order to become part of the official court record.