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Life is unpredictable, and if your circumstances have changed since the courts issued your final divorce order, its terms may not be reasonable anymore. You might need additional financial support for your child, or maybe you’re worried about your child’s safety when they spend time with your former spouse. No matter why you want your divorce modified, it’s important to follow the proper legal procedure, or else you could find yourself in trouble.
The Virginia Beach family law attorneys at Pincus Goodman, P.C., have many years of experience helping people modify their divorce. Our goal is to protect you and your family as best we can, and we can handle all the work necessary to modify your divorce. Below we explain more about post-divorce modifications in Virginia and how an attorney can help you with your case.
Requirements to Modify a Virginia Divorce
The final step in the Virginia divorce process is for the courts to issue a final divorce order. This order outlines the terms of the divorce for things like the division of shared property, child custody, alimony payments, and so on. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, the courts will decide the terms and include them in the divorce order.
Once the courts issue a divorce order, you must follow its terms, even if you disagree with those terms. State law says that only the courts can modify a divorce order, and that you must demonstrate that there have been material changes to your circumstances since the decree was finalized or was last modified. Examples of material changes include:
- A parent remarrying
- A parent suffering a financial setback
- A parent coming into inheritance
- A parent getting a substantial raise at work
- A parent overcoming substance abuse problems
Types of Post-Divorce Modifications in Virginia
In general, you cannot change how your shared marital property is divided once the courts issue a final divorce order. However, you can modify other provisions of a divorce order if you meet certain conditions. Some types of post-divorce modification you can pursue in Virginia include:
- Spousal support – The common term for spousal support payments is alimony, and you can ask the courts to modify your spousal support award if you can show how your circumstances have changed since the courts issued the initial order. A spouse receiving alimony can ask for a larger award, and the spouse paying alimony can ask the courts to reduce their payments.
- Child support – Along similar lines, a spouse receiving child support payments can ask the courts for a larger award based on the child’s increased needs or a change in the recipient spouse’s circumstances. The spouse paying child support can ask for a reduction in their payments, but they typically must show why they cannot make their current payments before the courts will consider a change.
- Child custody – The courts are generally reluctant to change child custody agreements, but they will if the petitioner can show why doing so is in the child’s best interests. Modifying a custody agreement typically requires the petitioner to demonstrate why the current arrangement isn’t working and that one spouse is either ignoring the terms of the divorce or putting the child in danger.
Talk to Our Virginia Beach Divorce Modification Attorneys Today
The terms of your divorce might have seemed reasonable at first, but if your life has changed significantly since the courts issued your final divorce order, the team at Pincus Goodman, P.C., is here to help. Our Virginia Beach divorce modification lawyers understand the rules and legal issues in these cases, and we will do everything we can to make the legal process painless. Call us today or visit our contact page to schedule a consultation.