When your divorce arrangement stops working, pt. 1

Anyone who has gotten a divorce should understand this little fact: things change. People change. A couple’s relationship changes. A married couple can change into a divorced couple. And just as a couple’s satisfaction within a marriage often changes, so can their satisfaction with their divorce settlement.

Massachusetts law takes the unavoidable shifts in life into account. When certain circumstances related to a divorce settlement change, someone can seek to modify relevant terms of their divorce. It is important to understand, however, that not all desired changes will be granted by the courts.

What are some of the common life changes that could prompt a post-divorce modification? A popular cause for modification is a person’s change in income. Maybe a non-custodial parent has lost a job or is no longer making the amount of money that he or she did at the time of a divorce. In those cases, a court might approve to modify the level of alimony as well as child support that the person is required to pay.

On the other side of this matter is when a non-custodial parent gets a salary boost in his or her career. In this situation, a custodial parent can ask for an increase in support. Generally, a court would agree to this (and also a reduction in support) only if there is a substantial wage change. Fighting for modification over every minor life change could be exhausting on a family as well as the legal system.

With any family law matter involving children, courts prioritize the stability and best interests of the kids. Some parents might be able to agree on what is best for their family and arrange modifications without heavy legal involvement. It’s important in any case for parents to know that they have options if they can no longer live with the terms of their divorce or if they believe their kids need and deserve a change.

Revisiting the divorce process can be undesirable, but a lawyer with experience in divorce modification can try to simplify the process and address your child support goals.