St Louis Divorce Modification Lawyer
How to Know if a Divorce Modification is Right for You
An Awareness Guide for Divorced Individuals
The decision to modify your divorce judgment is one requiring careful consideration. Adding to the decisiveness are numerous misconceptions and confusion over the legal process.
And that's where this guide will help you. As you can imagine, starting the process unprepared or uneducated about your options is a mistake.
After you read the following information, you'll be able to make informed, intelligent decisions about modifying your Missouri divorce decree. My experience as a lawyer practicing exclusively in family law and domestic relations gives me unique insight into your situation. So I encourage you to also use me a source to calm your concerns.
I'm happy to answer your questions and evaluate your situation - without any obligation. Call me today at (314) 322-8515.
Of course, I know many people have reservations about working with lawyers. That's why my practice is dedicated to educating prospects and clients.
After all, when you know what goes on behind the modification process and understand why certain events happen, you can better project problems and create a more predictable outcome.
Tonya D. Page
If you believe your existing divorce judgment is unfair due to changed circumstances, you can seek a modification.
Maybe you were fired, retired, or even remarried since the date of your judgment. Maybe you've experienced health problems or suffered through a major life event, resulting in an income reduction. Or, if you're receiving payments, maybe your child now requires greater expenses, whether due to a disability or just getting older.
You may have even agreed to an arrangement you didn't understand or that you felt forced into accepting and now realize you made a mistake.
Whatever your reason, Missouri law allows you to petition a court to modify your arrangement concerning maintenance (alimony), child support, and/or child custody. As a result, you can possibly lower what you pay, increase what you receive or get your payments terminated.
To change support payments, you must prove to the court there are "changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms unreasonable." Timing is also a critical factor.
It is typical for a post-judgment payment change to occur do to the following:
- A significant change in either person's income (e.g., lost or changed job);
- Changes in who has primary child custody, or major changes in the amount of time your children spend with each parent;
- Changes in your child's financial needs, due to such circumstances as an illness or private school;
- A new danger in one parent's home, one parent's substantial interference with the other's visitation rights, or changes that makes it impossible for one to provide child care (such as a prison sentence); or
- Remarriage of a custodial parent.
Also, keep in mind, petitioning the court to change maintenance payments if your supported spouse remarries or dies is not necessary - your payments end on their own under these circumstances. Child support payments and custody arrangements end automatically on a child's emancipation (usually the 18th birthday, unless the child goes to college and meets certain criteria) or death.
In cases where one parent with joint custody decides to move far away, specific rules are applied. The relocating parent must give the other parent written notice, 60 days in advance, explaining where, when, and the reason for the move. A new custody arrangement must be proposed, too. If these steps are not taken, Missouri courts can impose penalties.Of course, the non-relocating parent (or other legal guardian) may object, which then requires court involvement to resolve the situation. The relocating parent may have to pay transportation costs that are caused by long-distance visitation. If a parent moves without the other parent's or the court's permission, this could be grounds for a modification granting custody to the other parent.
If you and your former spouse agree to changes, a smooth modification is possible, assuming the judge shares your perspectives. However, if you and your ex-spouse don't see eye to eye, your modification can get complicated.
In either case, you need the help of a divorce attorney in St. Louis to draft and file your revised agreement with the court or to file a motion to modify. Without a new court order reflecting any changes, your modified agreement isn't legally enforceable.
Schedule your free divorce modification assessment today by calling (314) 322-8515.