Yes you can! Support obligations can be modified based upon a showing of “changed circumstances” warranting relief. The party seeking a modification has the responsibility to show a change in circumstances that warrants an increase in spousal support or child support.
If you are seeking an increase in your alimony or maintenance award, you normally have to demonstrate that changed circumstances prevent you from living at the standard for which you were accustomed during the marriage. In rendering a decision, the court will review the needs and financial circumstances of both parties. Be aware that your Settlement Agreement or Judgment may have waived your right for an increase or provided for an increase only upon the occurrence of certain future events.
Unlike alimony or maintenance, a party may petition the Court for a modification of child support beyond that which was enjoyed during the marriage. It is common for a Court to allow for the children to enjoy the increased standard of living of the payor spouse, regardless of the parties standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. Most states have implemented Child Support Guidelines which regulate the standard of support applicable to the parties’ income levels and the children’s needs. Typical examples of grounds for modification are an increase in the cost of living, increased needs of a child, and increased income of the payor spouse. Some states even have automatic reviews of child support obligations after a pre-set period of time.
David Wildstein, Esq. has been practicing matrimonial law for more than 30 years. He heads the 12-member family-law department of Wilentz Goldman Spitzer P.A. in Woodbridge, NJ and New York City. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America.