Over time, some parts of your divorce agreement or court order may not work as well as they once did. The circumstances change, and these plans need to adapt. Alabama law allows you to alter your agreement or order through the same court that issued it. A Huntsville, Alabama divorce modification lawyer from our team can help.
At Charlotte Christian Law, we know how to navigate petitions to modify in Madison County, Limestone County, and other nearby family courts. Our Alabaman divorce modification attorneys offer confidential, no-obligation evaluations. We can answer your questions and explain your options for pursuing a modification of your divorce, custody orders, or other related agreements.
Table of Contents
- Huntsville Divorce Modifications
- Modifications You Can Make After a Material Change in Circumstances
- Navigating the Process to Modify Your Huntsville Divorce or Custody Order
- Divorce Modifications You Can Make
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact a Huntsville Divorce Modification Lawyer Today
Charlotte Christian Law Handles Huntsville Divorce Modifications
At Charlotte Christian Law, our attorneys understand that every divorce comes with unique factors. We learn our clients’ concerns, asking questions so that we understand their goals and objectives. We want to ensure a judge hears their voice during a divorce or when they need to modify their court orders or agreements later.
Over the years, our attorneys have managed many divorce modification cases for clients. We have saved them money, got a more suitable custody arrangement based on their current circumstances, or helped them protect their child from a potentially dangerous situation.
Modifying an Alabama Divorce Is Legally Binding
After the dust settles on your divorce, many former spouses can communicate better with each other. In some cases, the divorced parties may start making informal agreements outside the bounds of their divorce decree. These informal agreements are not legally binding, and either party can go back on those agreements at any time.
At Charlotte Christian Law, we recommend our clients stay within the agreements made in their divorce decree. If at any time they want to make changes, a modification is necessary. Our divorce modification attorneys will make sure agreements made between former spouses are legally binding. We do not want you to deal with the consequences of your ex-spouse going back on their word from an informal agreement.
If you are thinking about changing the rules to your divorce in any way, our Alabama divorce modification attorneys can help you make changes the right way. We are dedicated to helping our clients reach agreements that will help them take positive steps into their new chapter of life.
Modifications You Can Make After a Material Change in Circumstances
Alabama requires you to show a significant change in circumstances before the judge hears arguments related to a petition to modify.
You can only make modifications when you and your former spouse agree on the change, or you provide evidence to show that a material change makes it necessary.
No legal definition determines what makes a change material in Alabama. The judge has the discretion to reevaluate the agreement or order due to current circumstances.
Examples of changes that might support a petition to modify include:
- An alimony recipient getting remarried
- Significant changes in income for one or both former spouses
- A child whose needs change as they grow
- A former spouse who suffers a serious injury or illness
- One parent moves out of state
- A parent’s work schedule changes or the child’s schedule changes
- Circumstances no longer serve a child’s best interests
How Soon Can I Modify a Divorce Decree in Alabama?
No specific restrictions define how long you must wait before filing a petition to modify. In theory, you could pursue a modification in the first weeks or months after a divorce.
However, significant changes usually take time. However, a petition to modify cannot alter an unfavorable divorce outcome.
The need for a modification usually does not occur so quickly following an order or agreement, although situations sometimes change quickly. Our team can evaluate your circumstances and determine if you can alter your orders based on the changes in your situation since your divorce.
Navigating the Process to Modify Your Huntsville Divorce or Custody Order
How you pursue a modification depends on its status as contested or uncontested. Like your divorce, partners can agree to all aspects of a modification and ask the court to approve it. This streamlines the necessary steps and dramatically increases your chances of the judge approving the changes. In most cases, judges will sign off on uncontested modifications.
Contested modifications require much more work.
We work with our clients to build a strong case to show:
- Circumstances changed.
- This change caused the current orders to no longer serve the client’s best interests.
- Another plan would work better.
We may need to call in experts, document examples, and prepare to argue against the former spouse’s attorney in court. We help clients modify their divorces in Madison County regularly. Our team of experienced Alabama lawyers know what it takes to navigate both contested and uncontested modifications. We can help you change your alimony, custody, visitation, or child support orders.
Our lawyers have experience preparing and filing petitions to modify divorces in Huntsville and nearby areas. We develop strong cases to support our client’s goals and represent them to the court. We present the necessary evidence and request the court rule on behalf of our client. Our team guides our clients throughout this process, remaining by their side from start to finish.
What Divorce Modifications Can I Make?
Several aspects of your divorce agreement or order may require modifications. Most petitions to modify relate to child custody or child support matters. However, people commonly seek changes to their orders related to spousal support.
Generally, you cannot modify property division decisions. However, the court will enforce these orders or agreements as necessary. Our divorce attorneys can help you with this type of motion, as well.
You can reduce or eliminate spousal support through a petition to modify in Madison or Limestone County. Under Alabama law, the state has strict rules for when a spouse receives alimony in a divorce. A judge could modify the orders when these factors no longer apply or other significant changes affect one or both former spouses.
- When the receiving party remarries
- When they finish their education or establish their career
- If the recipient gets a job with a significant pay increase
Child Custody Modifications
Child custody often proves more complex than many people realize. Parents often share joint legal and physical custody, with one parent serving as the primary physical custodian. The state prefers this custody plan under Alabama law. To determine primary physical custody, the judge weighs numerous factors based on Alabama law.
When these factolaw.justia.com/…rticle-7/section-30-3-152rs change, it could call for a modification of the orders or an agreement reached between the parents during the divorce.
Changes to Visitation Schedules
A common reason parents file petitions to modify includes altering the time a child spends with each parent: which days, how often, or how long. Parents could agree on these changes because of changing work schedules or other reasons. Alternatively, they may opt for a contested modification when one parent attempts to protect their child from a perceived danger at the other parent’s house.
Our attorneys understand the importance of ensuring your children feel safe and in the best environment possible to thrive. We have the experience with similar cases and the knowledge to fight for your family’s best interests throughout this process.
Reevaluating Child Support
If either parent experienced a significant change in income—by about ten percent or more—child support obligations could get recalculated. The court also recalculates child support following a modification in physical custody or visitation orders.
Where to Start When You Need a Divorce Lawyer?
Charlotte Christian Law believes in establishing relationships with clients. We also believe that relationships start with honesty. When you bring us a case or consult with us about a case, we will give you an honest assessment of your situation.
That means we’re going to be upfront with you about the potential strengths and weaknesses of your case. Reach out to us so we can assist you today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Divorce Modifications in Alabama
Below, we included some of the questions we commonly hear from our clients considering divorce modifications in Alabama. To learn more about your options based on the specifics of your case, consider a no-obligation consultation with our team today.
What Can a Petition to Modify Change?
We help clients change several aspects of a divorce order with a petition to modify. This includes spousal support (alimony), child custody, visitation schedules, and child support. Our attorneys can help you determine if your circumstances call for a modification, what you need to show, and how we can build a strong case to support your petition.
We guide our clients through this process, representing them from start to finish.
What Paperwork Do I File to Change Our Divorce or Custody Orders?
You should use a petition to modify to request a change in your court orders. When we represent a client, our team prepares and files this petition in the court that presided over their divorce. In Huntsville, this is often the Madison County Circuit Court. Our Huntsville divorce attorneys understand how to write and support these petitions. They are also familiar with many judges and others who work in the Madison County family court.
What Do I Have to Prove to Modify My Divorce?
First and foremost, you must show a material change in circumstances in your case. The judge will not consider your petition without an agreement for modifications with your former spouse or evidence of a significant change in the situation.
With evidence to show a material change in circumstances, you will also need to demonstrate that this change makes the current agreement or court order ineffective, inappropriate, or otherwise in need of modification.
Lastly, you should present a plan that better fits the new circumstances. Our team helps our clients develop a plan that the courts could approve and meets the criteria outlined by state law.
Can I Get a Modification if My Former Spouse Disagrees?
Contested divorce modifications happen regularly. Former spouses often do not agree to alter their divorce decree. Even if both parties recognize the need for a change, they likely disagree about how to make it better fit the new circumstances.
When this occurs, the judge hears arguments from both sides and weighs the options put forth by each. This could result in upholding the current orders or modifying the orders according to one of the plans presented in court.
Getting modifications based on an uncontested petition often proves easier. However, we frequently help our clients save money or alter their custody arrangements based on contested petitions. We can work to prove the change in circumstances and document the reasons for the modification.
Can I Modify Child Custody if I Believe My Child Is in Danger?
Parents may fear for their child’s emotional or physical well-being or their ability to succeed in the other parent’s case. In this case, they may request a modification of physical child custody or visitation schedules. This could occur because of a change in the other parent’s home or activities negatively affecting the child or children.
If you believe your child faces immediate physical danger, contact the police now. If not, reach out to our team to discuss your next steps. We may gather enough evidence to support a temporary order of protection for your child and halt visitation until the court hears your petition to modify.
We know your child’s best interest is your top priority, and that makes it our main focus, too. We fight to protect your children from physical and emotional harm, navigating the court system to ensure the judge hears your concerns.
Will the Court Reevaluate Child Support?
You can petition the judge to modify child support if circumstances changed significantly enough to alter the factors used in the state’s calculations. Alabama uses worksheets and tables to determine the standard rate a parent should pay in child support. The judge may also consider other related factors unique to the case, but this does not occur in every order.
The factors considered include:
- Each parent’s gross income from all sources
- How many children the couple has
- How many other children the parent pays support for
- How many days the child spends with each parent
- The cost of childcare and health insurance
- Other expenses such as education and medical care costs, if necessary
How Long Do I Have to Pay Child Support?
Alabama requires parents to pay child support until the latest event on this list:
- The child turns 19; or
- The child graduates high school.
In some cases, child support obligations end for an adult child, and the courts continue to charge the parent. The primary physical custodian won’t likely file a petition to modify and reduce their income through child support. This means the paying parent may need to do so. Our team handles these petitions.
Connect With Our Huntsville Divorce Modification Lawyer Today
At Charlotte Christian Law, our attorneys provide consultations for those who have questions or find themselves contemplating a divorce or custody modification in Huntsville. We have helped clients save money and get more suitable visitation agreements with their children through petitions to modify.