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When a divorce order is entered, it is made based on the couple’s lifestyle and needs at the present moment. It is rare for life to remain exactly what it was when a divorce order was entered. As your lifestyle and needs change, so should your child support, child custody, and spousal support orders. These orders can be modified through the court that issued the original order.

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Legally Modifying your Divorce Orders

In New York, modifying a divorce order can be a fairly straightforward process if both partners agree to the modification. Changing a child custody or spousal support order this way requires only a petition to alter the couple’s existing order to their new, stipulated order.

When both partners do not agree to the modification, the partner who petitions for the modification must show the court how relevant circumstances have changed to make the modification necessary. For example, he or she might have to demonstrate that the other parent has become unfit to care for their child or that he or she suffered an injury that impedes his or her ability to work and in turn, his or her ability to make spousal support payments.

Demonstrating a change of circumstances is always required to modify a child support order. In many cases, a child support order cannot be modified until it has been in place for at least three years. When three years have not yet passed, the parent seeking the modification must demonstrate to the court that he or she experienced a substantial change in circumstances or that one of the parents’ incomes has changed by 15 percent or greater.

How has your Life Changed Since your Divorce?

This is the key to a successful divorce order modification. Unless your former partner agrees to your request for a modification and you can submit your altered order together, you will need to show the court why a modification is necessary during your modification hearing.

You cannot modify a divorce order simply because it is inconvenient. Rather, you must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances in your life, your former partner’s life, or your child’s life that renders your current order to be inappropriate. Examples of valid reasons to change an order include:

  • Retirement;
  • Job loss;
  • A child’s medical diagnosis and special needs;
  • A child becoming emancipated;
  • Your former spouse’s cohabitation with a new partner;
  • A new job for you or your former spouse; and
  • Your injury or illness.

Work with an Experienced Albany Divorce Attorney

When you need to alter your divorce order to fit your current needs, work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can act as your advocate. Contact our team at The Colwell Law Group today to set up your set up your initial consultation with us. We will give you straight answers to your questions and work with you to determine the most effective way to move forward with your case.

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