What Is A Modification In Terms Of Family Law?

20 March 2020
 Categories: Law, Blog

When a family law court makes a decision, the judgment is rarely set in stone. Even when dealing with parties that are getting along well and doing the right things, circumstances change. That means the people involved and the court sometimes have to change with the situation.

One mechanism that's regularly used to address such challenges is the modification. Let's take a look at what a modification is and how a family law services firm might deal with that sort of request.

Understanding Court Orders

When a family law case ends, a court order is usually entered affirming what the outcome was. If a couple went through a divorce, for example, the paperwork finalizing the end of the marriage would have been sent to the courthouse with signatures from both individuals. An officer of the court would likely have read the filing, and they'd have given it to a judge with a recommendation to accept it as long as nothing seemed to be amiss with the filing. Once the filing is accepted by the judge, the divorce becomes final.

What is a Modification?

Accompanying that divorce there might have been alimony, child support, and child custody agreements outlining ongoing issues. If any of the circumstances have changed regarding one of those issues, a modification may be requested. For example, a spouse ordered to pay alimony to their ex might end up losing their job. They could petition the court for a modification in the hope of reducing what they owe in alimony.

Do You Need a Modification?

The first question is whether a modification is necessary. For example, a minor change in how child custody is handled probably can be worked out between the two parents as long as they're both acting civil. If one parent needs to pick the kid up at 5 p.m. on Friday rather than 9 a.m. on Saturday, that does not require a court order as long as the other parent is willing to deal with it. Some accommodation should be made to ensure both parents still get their allocated times with the kid, but it's irrational to pay for family law services under those circumstances.

Suppose one parent wanted to move out of state. That's a major change to how custody would have to be handled, and it needs to be addressed by a court. It's a big enough deal that the other parent would likely be able to seek injunctive relief to prevent the move at least until a judge has heard the case. 

To learn more about family law, contact a law company near you.