Even after a divorce is final, it doesn’t mean that life stops. Circumstances change. If you lose your job, do you still have to pay the same amount of spousal and child support? What if your ex-wife wants to move to another city with your children? Washington family law allows for modifications of the final divorce decree.
Support and Custody
Future child support and custody are the main issues for modification of the divorce decree.
At the time of the divorce, child and spousal support are calculated based on the incomes of the parents and the needs of the children and other spouse. Like many men, you may have earned more than your wife. You were ordered to pay support based on that higher income and needs. Have you now lost that high paying job or had your hours cut? Has your former wife obtained a higher paying job or gotten remarried? Do your children want a change in custody? The calculations that set the original support, or determined the original parenting plan, may no longer make sense.
Visitation and custody arrangements are complex schedules of times and dates. If your work schedule has changed, you may no longer be able to keep the same visitation days. You can ask the court to make both minor and major changes to custody and visitation.
After the divorce is over, and the decree has been entered, the court will retain jurisdiction over the issues of child custody, child visitation, and child support contained within the Parenting Plan, and spousal support (alimony).
The court will not modify property and debt division set forth in the divorce decree without a showing of intentional fraud.
I Lost My Job. Now What?
During your divorce you were truthful and reported all your income to the court. You paid all the required spousal and child support every month. Now though, you have lost your job. Your income has been drastically reduced and you can no longer pay the same amount every month. What can you do?
This is an issue that all too often happens to divorced men. During bad economic times, layoffs hit men hard. Fortunately, there is something you can do. Loss of your job can be presented as evidence of “substantial change of circumstances” to the court. You can petition to the court to reduce spousal and/or child support based on your decreased ability to pay. But no matter how drastic your income is reduced, you still owe the full amount of support until the court enters an order modifying your decree of divorce. Do not ignore this problem, your delinquent obligation will increase every month until modified. You cannot modify past due support obligations. You can only seek modification of future support.
If you have lost your job talk to a Divorce Lawyers For Men attorney today at (360) 866-7393.
My Work Schedule Changed
During a divorce, it is nearly impossible to predict all possible changes. When you and your ex-spouse created the Parenting Plan, you made the best choices possible based on your schedules. Now though your job has changed and you are forced to work weekends, or forced to relocate to another city. You still want to see your children every week, but your schedule has drastically changed. Does this mean you can’t see your kids?
Depending on the terms of your Parenting Plan, changes, especially minor changes, can sometimes be made by agreement with your ex-spouse. For major changes to the parenting plan, or if your former spouse will not agree, you will need to seek court approval, but you will have to demonstrate a substantial change of circumstance.
The court will carefully evaluate the best interests of the children, but will have to be shown a substantial change in circumstance, when considering a modification to the Parenting Plan. If you need to modify the visitation schedule you agreed to in the parenting plan, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At Divorce Lawyers For Men, we are experienced representing divorced men in modification hearings and making sure they still get to spend time with their children.
Substantial Change of Circumstance
If a party shows evidence of a “substantial change of circumstance”, the court can modify (change) the custody, visitation, and/or support. The party wanting the modification has the burden of proving the change in circumstance.
The court will not quickly or easily modify the decree, but if shown a substantial change, the court will grant a modification. Be aware: the number one source of information that a former spouse can use to seek an increase in child support is information from men bragging about their new raise or promotion. Think before you brag!
Divorce Lawyers For Men’s attorneys advise and assist Washington husbands and fathers to modify spousal support, child support, or custody and visitation after a divorce due to a substantial changes in circumstances. We also help men oppose unreasonable modifications sought by former spouses. Call us today at (360) 866-7393 to speak with an attorney who understands your situation.
If you would like more information on the divorce process, or to take the best divorce resources with you in print, please check out our free divorce guide for men or contact our office to meet with an attorney about your particular circumstances.