Making Changes To Existing Court Orders

"There is nothing permanent except change," said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus.

This is true in all spheres of life, and especially in divorced families. After the arduous process of hammering out child custody, child support or spousal support arrangements, things may have altered.

Perhaps your children have grown older and their needs and circumstances have changed. Or maybe you or your former spouse has a new job, is now unemployed or is planning to move. How can you modify existing court orders to fit your changed circumstances?

Let Sena Family Law & Mediation Practice assist you. From our office in San Francisco, we are available to handle cases throughout the surrounding five counties. Set up a free consultation with our attorney by calling us at 415-906-2556.

Child Custody Modifications

If both of you agree on the new parenting arrangement, you must fill out specific forms. You must also obtain a judge's signature and file the forms with the court clerk.

If you cannot agree on the changes, one parent must file papers with the court requesting a modification. A court hearing will be scheduled. It must be shown that there has been a "change in circumstances" since the last custody agreement, and these changes must be significant enough to require a new arrangement that is in the best interests of the children.

Child Support Modifications

If both of you agree on a new child support arrangement, you can write it up as a stipulation and give it to a judge for signature. It will become a new order.

To change a court order, a "change in circumstances" must be demonstrated. However, if the judge ordered a child support amount below the guideline amount, you can ask to change that amount at any time. You do not need to show a change in circumstances. If you cannot agree, a judge's order is required in order to change the previous court order.

Alimony Modifications

Again, if both of you agree on a new spousal support arrangement, you can write it up as a stipulation and give it to a judge for signature. It will become a new order. If you cannot agree, a motion must be filed with the court. A "change in circumstances" will be required to change the order. If such a change occurs, it is important to file a motion immediately. The judge is not allowed to change the order prior to the time of a motion requesting the change.

Even if you and your former spouse have a verbal agreement, the previous order cannot be changed without a judge's signature. So to protect yourself, put it in writing and have a judge sign it.

Learn How We Can Help By Scheduling A Consultation

In all cases, a judge's signature is required to change a previous court order. At Sena Family Law & Mediation Practice, our lawyer can help you reach a decision that is in the best interests of you and your children. She can also handle all the paperwork on your behalf.

Call our California law firm at 415-906-2556, or contact us via email to set up a free consultation.