Family Law Order Modifications
The majority of court orders that are issued by a family law court pertain to divorce and the myriad of issues in a divorce that couple faces, such as whether or not one spouse will pay alimony, the division of property and debts, which parent will be named as a shared child’s custodian, how much the other parent will be responsible for paying in child support, and more. When a family law court issues an order in regards to any of the above issues (or others), these orders are legally binding, and parties are required to adhere to them lest they be in violation of a court order, and potentially held in contempt of court.
With that in mind, all courts recognize that over time, things can change for an individual, couple, or child, and as such a court order that was issued months or years past may no longer be relevant or appropriate. When this is the case, a party may seek the modification of a family law order. At the law offices of Brown & Gould, PLLC, our experienced Oklahoma City family law attorneys can help.
What Family Law Orders Can Be Modified?
The first thing that is important to note is that not all family law orders can be modified. For example, once a court issues a determination about property distribution and how assets and debts are to be shared, the order is final, and a petitioner cannot request that this decision be modified at a later date. However, most family law orders can be changed, including:
- Spousal support (alimony) orders;
- Child custody orders; and
- Child support orders.
Grounds for Modification of a Family Court Order
A person cannot seek the modification of a family court order merely because they feel like it; they must have grounds for modification. Essentially, the petitioner must prove that there has been a significant and material change of circumstances that warrant the modification. These changes might include, but are not limited to:
- Losing one’s job, thereby affecting one’s ability to make spousal support or child support payments;
- Planning to relocate to a new location;
- Developments and changes with a child, such as behavioral issues; and
- Illnesses that affect work, ability to care for a child, etc.
One of the most important things about modifying a court order that you should know is that regardless of your circumstances, you cannot just choose to stop following a court order. Indeed, you must adhere to the court order at all times, even if your circumstances make doing so difficult. For example, if you are obligated to pay child support, you must make your payments in full and on time until a judge decides otherwise.
How to Modify a Family Court Order in Oklahoma City
The first thing that you should do if you are thinking about seeking modification of a court order is to hire an experienced Oklahoma City family law attorney who has experience with modifications. Your attorney will guide you through the process, and help you:
- Gather and fill out the appropriate court forms;
- Gather evidence to support your material change in circumstances;
- Determine the degree of modification you are seeking; and
- Assist you in filing the papers with the court.
Should your case go to court, an experienced attorney can also provide you with representation during this process. In some cases, both parties involved will agree to the modification, which expedites the process and can reduce costs as well. The most difficult cases are those in which modification is contested. If your modification request is contested, working with an attorney is an absolute necessity.
You Have a Lot on the Line – Let Our Attorneys Help
If you need to modify a court order, there may be a lot on the line, and you may be worried about what will happen if the modification is delayed, or not granted at all. Our family law attorneys at the law offices of Brown & Gould, PLLC understand how important modification of a court order may be to you, and are prepared to provide you with the competent legal representation you’re looking for.
If you are ready to schedule a consultation with our lawyers, please contact us today. We have experience handling modifications, including those that are contested and require going to court. You can contact us by sending us a message using the form found on our website, or calling our law offices today to request a consultation.