Post-divorce family law cases can present a variety of issues. Sometimes spouses stop paying or complying with Court orders. Contempt actions are required, including those involving incarceration, to ensure compliance. In some case, the non-paying spouse is unable to pay due to job loss or other financial changes. In these cases, a strong defense to the action in order to provide for a reasonable means to catch up is in order. Clients also face situations whereby the original custody, visitation and support provisions are no longer workable due to changes in residence, job or family situations such as remarriage. In these instances, a modification action helps to find a workable result for the existing family dynamics.
- Modifications of Custody
It is not uncommon for a previously agreed upon custody arrangement to become unworkable or unrealistic due to changes in circumstances. For example, if one party decides to relocate, that can have a drastic affect on the custody arrangement between two parents. If one parent remarries, their new spouse inevitably plays a significant role in a child’s life and that can prove to create new issues that were not contemplated when the original custody agreement was reached. Additionally, as children grow older, they tend to become more opinionated about where they want to spend there time. All of these factors can present the need for the parties to revisit their initial custody order.
- Modifications of Support
There are several different types of modification actions associated with child support and alimony. The paying party can seek a downward modification of his or her child support and/or alimony obligation if he or she has experienced an involuntary loss in income and change in financial circumstances, or if the party receiving the support has enjoyed an increase in income and financial circumstances. Likewise, the receiving party can seek an upward modification of his or her child support and/or alimony obligation if he or she has experienced an involuntary loss of income and change in financial circumstances, or if the party paying the support has enjoyed an increase in income and financial circumstances. Additionally, if either party seeks a modification of custody of minor children and is successful in gaining custody, the court is almost certainly going to revisit the previous child support award.
It can be incredibly frustrating to have received a Court Order or entered into an agreement regarding child support, alimony, visitation, or property division only for the other party to violate the order or agreement. The person in violation of the order or agreement must be held accountable through the pursuit of a contempt action. A contempt action is generally a condensed legal proceeding and can result in the non-complying party being held in willful contempt, being incarcerated, and paying the other party’s attorneys fees due to their noncompliance.