Family Lawyers for Modification of Divorce Orders
Alimony & child support agreements in divorce settlements are a function of a static picture that reflects the parties’ circumstances at the time of the divorce. Leveraging nearly 40 years of experience, Paul Goldhamer and the family law attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhammer & Graifman know that those circumstances often change, rendering the settlements unworkable.
We have helped clients in New York and New Jersey change their settlement agreements when circumstances call for an alimony or child support modification. We have also helped spouses to enforce existing alimony and support decrees where opposing parties are failing to fulfill their court-ordered obligations.
Child support modification
In general, changes in income or residency status will form the basis of most modifications of divorce decrees. In other cases, one partner’s failure to abide by the terms of a divorce decree can catalyze a modification.
Some of the more specific modifications might include:
- A child support modification premised on a promotion or job loss that dramatically changes a divorced partner’s income;
- A child custody modification following a parent’s relocation outside of New York or New Jersey;
- Alimony modifications to accommodate new or unexpected medical treatments;
- Post-divorce modifications to enable stronger enforcement of spousal support or child visitation rights;
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman are here to answer common post divorce modification questions as they relate to New York and New Jersey residents.
How do I file for a modification of child support?
In some cases, a spouse might elect to appeal a divorce court’s order and decree to an appellate court. If that is not the case and one spouse seeks to have a divorce decree modified after the time for an appeal has lapsed, in both New York and New Jersey, that spouse or the spouse’s attorney will file a Motion to Modify a divorce judgment directly in the divorce court that issued the original decree. The Motion will recite the factual basis for the modification request and the specific amount of the child support that the spouse seeks to modify.
What if I am relocating outside of New York or New Jersey?
Child custody is governed by what the court determines to be the best interests of the child. Different states apply this standard differently, but most consider whether one parent has expressly consented to a relocation and whether notice of the relocation has been given. Courts will also consider how far away the relocation might take the child, and whether the spouse who is relocating has a good faith reason for moving.
Can I petition to reduce my alimony payments?
Modifications that lead to alimony reductions or increases will be closely scrutinized to determine if the basis for the modification is legitimate. Spouses that are ordered to pay alimony should keep detailed records of income and expenses if they anticipate seeking to reduce alimony obligations, or if the other spouse is expected to seek an increase.
Do Bergen County, NJ courts treat modifications differently than NY courts?
In theory, each court is obligated to apply the laws of its state fairly and without bias to either party. The differences in each state’s laws are largely procedural. For example, New York law establishes a 12-month waiting period before a divorce decree is final, whereas the decree is final almost immediately in New Jersey. Your attorney can give you more specific details on the differences as they might apply to your specific situation.
How easy is modification of custody in Rockland County, NY?
Again, courts will consider all requests for modification of custody arrangements in light of what is in the best interests of the child. If objective facts indicate that the parent who was awarded custody is not caring for the child’s best interests, as perceived by the court, custody may be transferred to the other parent. Custody challenges in themselves, however, might be viewed as detrimental to the child’s best interests. Consult with an attorney before making any motions for a child custody modification.
Assistance with Post Divorce Decree Modifications
Whether you live in New York and are seeking to file for divorce or modify an existing divorce order, or if you reside in New Jersey and have questions about child support or custody, or alimony modifications in your divorce proceedings, KGG’s experienced team of family law attorneys are ready and available to help you at every stage of the process.
We represent clients in Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY and take pride in providing sound guidance for all of our valued clients. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.