Your divorce is final, but your support payments may not be: It is possible to modify your initial agreements. A change in your financial or employment circumstances might mean the need to seek or pay child support in an amount different from the one ordered in your divorce decree. The same is true of spousal support (also called alimony). Your former spouse’s plans to move with your child out of state could bring you both back into court as well — it will require a modification of your custody and visitation agreement. And if child support or alimony payments have gone into default, enforcement proceedings are likely to follow very shortly.
If you need advice about your legal options on either side of a post-decree modification or enforcement action in the Washington, D.C., metro area, contact Bromberg Rosenthal LLC in Rockville. We are not only knowledgeable about family law in the state where we practice — we also handle business and real estate matters. This is a significant asset to our clients when it comes to discussing financial matters.
With more than 30 years of family law experience, we know that the final decree of divorce might often need to be revisited to catch up to changes in the circumstances of either or both spouses. Our lawyers represent both the proponents of modified court orders and those who choose to resist any change in the status quo. Similarly, we can work with either side in motions to enforce the terms of an order for child support, spousal support or visitation.
In recent years, we have seen many cases where a parent with primary physical custody of a child proposes relocating to another part of Maryland, or leaving the state entirely. Although the proposal is most often based on sound economic reasons to pursue career opportunities or live closer to relatives, the obvious interference with the other parent’s visitation rights means that a court will need to review and approve the proposal to move away.
It is not easy to obtain court approval of a parental relocation plan over the other parent’s objection, but our attorneys can give you a good idea of the best ways to obtain approval in your situation. If you’re the parent opposing the move, we can help you articulate your concerns in court or negotiate an acceptable revision of child custody and visitation arrangements.
When the main issue will be reducing or raising the amount of monthly child or spousal support, we can explain what each former spouse needs to show in order to achieve a positive outcome under the facts of a given case. In general terms, it is only realistic to expect approval of a modification motion if the change of circumstances that supports it is substantial and involuntary. If either spouse begins making significantly more money, or loses his or her job, or becomes unable to work due to illness or injury, it may be time to consider a modification.
Our family law attorneys also advise former spouses about their rights and legal options on either side of enforcement actions, most often related to unpaid child support or alimony. The consequences of unexcused defaults in child support payments can be very serious, including jail time or loss of state licenses to drive, hunt, fish or practice a profession. For that reason, it is important to consult an attorney sooner rather than later — don’t wait until you default on your payments.
For additional information about your practical and legal options in a family court modification or enforcement situation, call 301-251-6200 or complete our contact form.