“Can I make modifications to my Divorce Decree? My circumstances have changed, and I’m going to need more support?”
Depending on your circumstances, and the terms of the Final Judgment, your Decree may be modified.
Unless your Divorce Decree specifies that your spousal support (called “alimony” in other states) is non-modifiable by either stipulated agreement or court order, you might be able to change your Decree if: a) your earning ability has had a precipitous decline due to health; b) you’ve had a decrease in or loss of employment; c) your ex-spouse’s income has greatly increased over that which was named in the Judgment.
If your spousal support has terminated, your need for additional child support in order to continue to provide a home for your children may be a factor. Anything to do with children is always modifiable. Another circumstance that might be sufficient for you to modify your support would be the amount of time that you have the children greatly increasing due to a job change, a move to a different area, special needs of the children, or other factors.
Such modifications can be made by argument leading to a stipulation to be signed by all and filed with the court so as to be enforceable. If your spouse refuses to negotiate a stipulated modification, you may need to have your attorney file a court hearing to get appropriate modifications ordered, based on the facts.
Rosaline L. Zukerman has been practicing primarily in the family law area for over 22 years. Her background in psychology and counseling makes her especially adept at dispute resolution, in addition to active representation of families in crisis. For over 15 years, she has volunteered her pro-bono services through the Los Angeles County Bar Attorney-Client Fee Disputes Arbitration Services.