The Alabama legal system understands that times change. An agreement or court order for a divorce may not work forever. It may require modifications. This is why you can modify many aspects of an order or parenting plan, known as a Petition to Modify.
If you need to change your spousal or child support order, parenting plan, or other aspects of your divorce, an Athens divorce modification lawyer on our team can help. At The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates, our team of highly skilled divorce attorneys in Athens, AL offers a confidential, no-obligation evaluation where we can discuss your options. We want to make your divorce arrangements work for you.
We Offer Case Evaluations to Potential Claimants in Alabama
If you want to explore your options, our team offers case evaluations. Our representatives can answer your questions and address your concerns during our conversation. They can also answer case-specific inquiries to the best of their ability.
There is no obligation to partner with us when you call. This is your opportunity to learn about divorce modification and the benefits of partnering with our firm.
Let The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates Help with Your Athens Divorce Modifications
At The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates, our team of attorneys represents clients in Athens with divorce, child custody, and support concerns. In addition to helping empower clients who are facing divorce or defending themselves against divorce, we handle divorce modifications that become necessary later on.
Our attorneys build strong cases and present them to the judge, ensuring the decision makers in our clients’ cases have the necessary information to rule appropriately. In other words, we ensure the court hears our client’s side of the story and provide supporting evidence.
We learn each client’s story, priorities, and needs. We advocate for them while navigating the process on their behalf. We have a history of helping our clients protect their children, financial security, and property.
Whether you need to modify your divorce because your schedule changed or you have concerns about your child’s well-being, we are here to help. Let’s work together to develop and execute a strategy that meets your goals.
For a free legal consultation with a divorce modification lawyer serving Athens, call (256) 859-7277
Navigating the Athens Divorce Modification Process
Alabama law allows you to petition the court for a modification or a new order when a “substantial change in circumstances” occurs and make the previous order moot, impractical, or erroneous. This is true of mutually agreed divorce settlements and court-issued orders after a trial.
The courts will not modify all aspects of a divorce decree. For example, the judge will enforce a property division order. Yet, they are unlikely to change this aspect of a divorce after finalization. However, they commonly modify spousal and child support, child custody, and visitation orders.
Theoretically, this process is simple:
- Complete and file a Petition to Modify.
- Go to a hearing where the judge evaluates the petition.
- If applicable, the judge rules on the petition and issues a new order.
Uncontested and Contested Modifications
The process in real life is more complex for most people. While the goal is to amend the original decree or plan, those involved do not always agree.
To this end, we handle two types of divorce modifications:
- Uncontested modifications
- Contested modifications
In an uncontested modification, the former spouses agree that a change is necessary and what that change should be. Our attorneys’ role in these cases is to prepare the petitions, create new plans that the courts will accept, and navigate the process for our clients. We can make getting your court order or parenting plan changed easy on you.
When your former spouse disagrees with you on the necessary modifications, you would have to make contested modifications. In that case, we would need to develop a solid argument to show the judge your side of the story and why the changes your ex proposed do not work.
Related: The Best Athens Divorce Attorneys
Examples of Possible Divorce Modifications in Athens, AL
In general, there are four divorce modifications that our clients may need. We can help you modify any of the following aspects of your divorce decree or parenting plan:
Alabama law allows for spousal support (also called alimony) under specific circumstances. These rules come from Alabama law.
When divorcing spouses agree on alimony or the court orders it, the current circumstances dictate:
- Which spouse receives alimony
- How much they receive and how often
- How long they will receive payments
Over time, these circumstances often change. This may occur when the receiving spouse finishes a degree, gets a new job, or remarries. Alternatively, circumstances also change when the paying spouse loses their job, gets sick, or loses income.
These examples could constitute a substantial change in circumstances that supports a Petition to Modify.
Alabama law sets child support amounts based on several factors, including the visitation schedule, both parents’ incomes, the number of children, and the cost of childcare and other expenses. When one of these factors changes, it may require the court to recalculate the child support obligation.
We request these changes for our clients when:
- A parent got a new job and is earning significantly more than before.
- A parent lost their job.
- A parent is sick or injured and out of work for an extended period.
- A child turns 19, or the child support obligation ends.
Other circumstances support this type of modification.
If you and the other parent can agree on a new visitation schedule for your child, we may complete your petition and request a modified order that includes your uncontested plan. Judges generally approve uncontested custody and visitation schedules as long as they believe they honor the child’s best interests.
Of course, we can also petition to modify your child’s visitation schedule in a contested modification. The judge will consider whether a substantial change in circumstances occurred, whether a modification is necessary, and if the proposed plan is the best option. They may instate the proposed plan, come up with another plan, or deny the modification entirely.
Some reasons why parents may request to modify a visitation schedule include:
- One or both parents have new work schedules.
- The child’s needs changed as they grew up.
- The child is attending a new school or starting school.
- There are changing needs related to childcare.
Sometimes, a parent may request to modify the custody agreement and determine which parent has primary custody of the child. This could alter who makes medical and educational decisions, where the child resides most of the time, and more.
Some reasons why a change in a child custody order might be necessary include:
- A parent moving to another state
- A parent who no longer sees the child
- A parent who puts the child in physical or emotional danger
- A parent who is no longer physically or mentally able to provide care
- A parent who becomes incarcerated
Judges usually take these cases seriously. Under Alabama law, they must consider shared decision-making in every case. A judge rarely takes this right away from a parent.
Physical custody, however, is another story. The judge will consider the petition and the facts presented in court. They will weigh the same factors used to make their initial decision, as state law outlines.
They have the discretion to make any modification—or deny any modification—they believe is in the child’s best interests. We represent parents making the brave step to modify a custody order to protect their child from abuse. We understand how difficult this is and can fight for your child’s safety.
Athens Divorce Modification Lawyer Near Me (256) 859-7277
When Can You Petition to Modify My Divorce in Athens?
You can petition the court for a divorce modification any time there is a substantial change in circumstances. This could happen six weeks after a divorce finalizes or six years later. In most cases, the more time that passes after a divorce, the more you may need a modification.
These petitions do not change a divorce decree, parenting plan, or another court order simply because you do not like it. Unless it is an uncontested modification, the judge will require you to prove that a substantial change in your circumstances merited modification.
Our team can assess the circumstances in your case and offer advice based on our experience with the Limestone County family courts. We may be frank about whether we believe the judge will approve a petition to modify your case.
How Long Does It Take to Modify a Divorce in Athens?
How long it takes to get a divorce modification depends on many factors. In an uncontested modification, the process generally moves forward much faster. Our attorney prepares and files the petition and asks the judge for approval. If approved, the court issues a new order reflecting the modifications. This may be possible without either party making a court appearance.
Of course, a contested divorce modification will likely take longer. Both sides will need to file paperwork, the court will need to schedule a hearing on its docket, and the judge will hear arguments for and against the petition. The judge may then take time to weigh the arguments before deciding. This does not always occur, but it could.
If necessary, an Athens divorce modification attorney from The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates can help you take additional steps to protect your child, your finances, or yourself while we work on your Petition to Modify. If you believe there is an immediate danger, an order of protection or another similar action may be necessary. We are here to help you navigate this process.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Athens Divorce Modifications
We commonly hear the following questions from our clients about filing a Petition to Modify in Alabama. To get answers specific to your circumstances, request a no-obligation evaluation with our team of attorneys today.
Do I Have to Hire an Attorney to Handle My Petition to Modify?
Filing a Petition to Modify requires knowing how this process works and understanding Alabama divorce law. Preparing and filing this paperwork is not difficult, but the plan must be one the judge will approve. This is true even in an uncontested modification.
Our attorneys know how this process works and how to advocate for our clients. Do not navigate this on your own and make a mistake that costs the approval of your modification.
Where Will I File My Petition to Modify?
Generally, you file a Petition to Modify in the court that granted your divorce. If a Limestone County family court approved your divorce agreement or issued your initial orders, it will also hear your Petition to Modify. Your attorney can explain your options if you no longer live in the same jurisdiction.
What Aspects of My Divorce Can I Modify in Limestone County?
There are several aspects you can modify following the finalization of your Athens divorce, including:
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Child custody
- Visitation schedules
How Can I Fight a Divorce Modification?
While some people come to our team for help with a Petition to Modify, others wish to keep the original orders in place despite a former spouse asking for a change. We can represent you by filing the necessary paperwork and arguing against the modification in court. We can advocate for your best interests and fight the petition on your behalf.
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Learn More from One of Our Divorce Modification Lawyers
At The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates, our team of lawyers can guide you through the Athens divorce modification process from start to finish. You can count on us to protect your rights and fight for the best outcome in your case. We know how to prepare these petitions, navigate the court system, and present a strong case to show why the modification is necessary.
Learn more during your no-obligation evaluation with our team today. Contact us at (256) 859-7277 to get started.
The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates Athens Office Location:213 South Jefferson Street
Athens, AL 35612