Court Modifications For Life’s Changes
In the Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts, a party can seek a modification to an order or a judgment of a court under certain circumstances. If a party seeks to modify a temporary order for child support, for example, the party would bring a motion for further temporary orders to modify before the court. If a party wanted to modify a judgement of the court, that person would need to file a complaint for modification and serve that complaint upon the opposing party.
The standard for modification for all modification actions except for ones regarding child support orders is a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the parties since the entry of the prior order or judgment.
When Income Levels Change
One common modification a party may seek is a modification of a child support order because of an inability to pay through no fault of their own. While it may be possible to have a court modify an order for child support, not every person will be entitled to one and courts are limited in the circumstances in which they can modify child support agreements.
A court can modify a child support order under the following circumstances: A parent’s income has changed, certain expenses regarding the children have changed such as a disabled child suddenly needing costly treatments or procedures, a parent’s health insurance choices have changed, and an inconsistency exists between the amount in the order and the amount on the child support guidelines worksheet. A parent’s income can change for the following reasons:
- Going on welfare
- Going on unemployment
- Getting a higher paying job
- Working fewer hours
- Getting injured and receiving disability payments
It does not matter which parent is receiving the child support or paying the child support. Either parent may ask the court to modify an order for any of the reasons mentioned above. One parent may ask for a modification because they are not making as much money anymore due to something like a job loss. Conversely, a party may ask to have an award reduced because the other party has suddenly received a promotion at work or a higher paying job and they do not need to receive as much money anymore.
Call Us For Help With A Modification
If you believe you need to modify a child support order or may have reason to do so in the future, it is important to work with a family law attorney to do so as soon as possible. If the order is modified, it only is modified back to the date the complaint or motion for modification.