Understanding the Different Types of Post-Judgment Modification
There are a variety of different post-judgment modifications that either spouse can file following a divorce or separation. Some of the most common types of post-judgment modifications in California include:
Disputes regarding child-related matters, including support, custody, and health care issues, can result in post-judgment litigation.
If there is a substantial change in circumstance, either spouse may file a motion for the court to modify the amount or duration of spousal support or alimony.
If an ex-spouse is deliberately defaulting on his or her child support or alimony obligations or failing to follow court orders, an aggrieved spouse may file a contempt action requesting the court to enforce an original family law order and punish the delinquent spouse.
Some other types of court judgments that may be modified include allocated parenting time, tax exemptions, and children's health benefits.
How to Seek Child Custody & Visitation Modifications
Either parent can seek a modification of a child custody agreement or visitation order at any time. According to California Family Code Section 3022, the court may find the modification "necessary" if it is in the best interest of the child. Common reasons to seek a change of custody or visitation order include:
- A change in the work schedule of the non-custodial parent
- A change in the child's preferred parent
- One parent is being irresponsible or has substance abuse issues
Under California law, either parent can request child support modifications if you believe you are paying too much or receiving too little in child support payments. A recalculation will be done if any of the following elements are true:
- The original computation was incorrect
- You have a new child
- Your income has been reduced or increased
- The other parent's income has been reduced or increased
- There has been a change in the amount of time either of the parents has the child(ren)
It’s important to note that the parent seeking the child custody, visitation, or support modification needs to show the court that there has been a "significant change of circumstances" since the original order was made.
Seeking Spousal Support Modifications or Termination
A spousal support judgment may be modified or terminated if there has been a "change in circumstances" since the original partner support order was made. Such circumstances that may prompt you to file a motion to modify or terminate spousal support include:
- Involuntary loss of employment
- Retirement with a substantial reduction in income and resources
- Remarriage of the supported spouse
- Increased or decreased income
- Increased living costs
- Cohabitation by the supported spouse
- Failure of the supported spouse to make any effort towards becoming self-sustaining
How the Modification Process Works
The post-judgment modification process involves filing a Request for Order and personally serving a copy of the motion on the other spouse. A judge or commissioner will hear the motion, review the case, and issue an order. In many instances, there will be another trial, though usually less extensive than the first one.
Work with an Experienced Post-Judgment Attorney in Ontario, CA
Family law orders aren't set in stone. In many cases, just because your divorce has been finalized doesn't mean the existing order can't be altered to meet your needs. If you are trying to modify an existing divorce order, alimony/spousal support arrangement, child support order, or file a post-judgment motion, it is crucial that you speak with a knowledgeable California family law attorney to protect your rights and receive detailed guidance.
At the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, I have dedicated my career to handling complicated family law and divorce issues related to post-judgment enforcement and modifications. Using my extensive experience, detailed knowledge, and my compassion for the needs of you and your family, I will review every detail of your case, evaluate your unique situation, and work hard to craft a solution that works for you and your family.
As your legal counsel, I can help you modify an existing arrangement if you've experienced major life changes. Even if the other party isn't abiding by the existing family law orders, I can help you enforce the judgment. With a skilled attorney like me on your side, you can increase your chances of getting a favorable outcome in your post-judgment litigation.