Athens, Alabama Divorce and Child Custody Modifications
Alabama law allows you to modify an existing court order or agreement related to your Athens divorce or child custody. At The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates, our attorneys manage these changes for our clients. This includes uncontested and contested modifications and cases involving alimony, child support, child custody, and visitation schedules.
Our team offers no-obligation evaluations where we can review your Athens divorce and child custody modifications, discuss your options, and explain how we manage this process for our clients from start to finish. Our lawyers can help you navigate this stressful time. Contact us today to get started.
Let The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates Handle Your Divorce or Child Custody Modification
Our attorneys from The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates represent clients and fight for their best interests during various family law issues. We handle divorces, custody disputes, child support enforcement, and help clients modify orders already in place.
Modifying court orders or divorce decrees can prove essential for many divorced partners and their children. It can save them money, help their children thrive, and make their lives easier.
Top-rated Athens divorce lawyers can ensure that the court and other parties recognize your voice. We can protect your rights and fight for what is best for you and your children. We gather evidence and present a strong case, ensuring the judge has the information needed to understand your needs during a divorce or modification hearing.
What Do I Need to Show to Get an Athens Divorce Modification Approved?
Courts only grant divorce or custody modifications under certain circumstances. There must be a significant change in the circumstances to modify the original court order. The judge will unlikely consider a modification request without a substantial material change.
When our divorce modifications attorneys handle a Petition to Modify in Athens, we:
- Work to prove the change in circumstances
- Develop an argument to show that this change affected the current order
- Show the existing order no longer serves the best interests of the parties involved
- Present a better option that meets our client’s goals
A Petition to Modify may involve a court hearing if the petition gets contested. This hearing generally provides each side a time to present their case, including evidence and witnesses to support their arguments. The judge then considers the petition and evidence, deciding to approve or deny the modification. If approved, the judge can alter the current court order to reflect the changes.
For example, imagine a recipient of alimony recently remarried. Our attorneys may represent the former spouse, who currently pays a significant monthly sum. With the new spouse in the picture, the recipient no longer needs the spousal support granted in the divorce. We present proof of remarriage to the court and ask that alimony stops. Most judges would agree with this in most cases, approving the modification.
Understanding the Process of Divorce and Child Custody Modifications
We can assist you with one of two types of divorce and child custody modifications:
Just as you can have an uncontested divorce in Alabama, you could have an uncontested modification. The former spouses must agree on all aspects of the modification, and both acknowledge that the agreement meets the best interests of all involved parties.
This is common when the parents need to change visitation schedules due to their work. The parties can work together to file an uncontested Petition to Modify. Our attorneys handle these regularly. Most judges approve these modifications to visitation schedules or spousal support payments as long as they are reasonable.
However, child support modifications can prove more complex. Alabama uses specific calculations to determine these monthly payments. While the court considers child support modifications regularly, this is not something the parents can negotiate. The judge will recalculate the payments after a significant change in custody, visitation, or other factors used to determine the support obligation, such as one parent’s income.
Many Petitions to Modify result from a disagreement between the parties involved. The courts refer to these as “contested modifications.” They could settle before reaching the judge but often require a court hearing and ruling. They go before the jurisdiction that heard the divorce case in most situations.
Imagine one parent accuses the other of not taking care of the children. The accused parent will likely not give up time with their children without the court forcing it.
In another scenario, a former spouse may start working in a high-paid position after receiving temporary alimony. The alimony recipient may not agree to stop payments if they still have several years left under the original agreement. The spouse currently making payments may then need to seek an end to alimony. These are common reasons for contested modifications.
We fight for the best interests of our clients in these hearings. We present substantial evidence to prove the need for a modification and why our modification offers the best plan. Alternatively, we defend clients faced with a contested modification and fight to prevent the change.
Common Athens Divorce and Child Custody Modifications
While it is possible to modify several areas of a divorce decree or child custody agreement—whether reached through negotiations or a court judgment—most modifications focus on a few highly-contested topics. These include:
Aside from changes to a parenting plan or other child-related concerns, the most common Athens divorce modification request relates to alimony. Also known as spousal support, alimony consists of payments from one spouse to the other following a divorce. Alabama law dictates when and how long alimony can extend under Alabama Code § 30-2-56 and § 30-2-57.
Most alimony is temporary. The courts grant spousal support to enable the lesser-earning spouse to finish their education, get a full-time job, or take other steps to become independent after dedicating years to their partnership or family. This is often a stay-at-home mom who needs to return to the workforce, but many other situations also support alimony.
Scenarios leading to alimony modification include the receiving spouse landing a new job, getting remarried, or the paying spouse having a significant drop in income. Our attorneys know how to prove a material change and document this change for the judge. As a result, we could protect your alimony or save you money by ending it before the initial court order calls for it, depending on your needs.
Alabama family law uses very specific criteria to determine child support payments.
- The income of both parents
- Child custody and visitation
- Additional expenses such as childcare and health insurance
When any of these factors changes, child support obligations may also change.
We most often see these modifications related to:
- One parent landing a new job
- A parent losing their job or being unable to work
- A change in visitation, often through a Petition to Modify
- Visitation practices that do not reflect the court order
- A significant change in additional expenses
Our attorneys answer questions related to child support in Limestone County. We explain how these calculations work, what constitutes a significant change, and whether we think a Petition to Modify could be beneficial.
Child Custody and Visitation
Limestone County family law courts often hear Petition to Modify cases dealing with child custody, decision-making, and visitation schedule changes. While some families never need to alter their initial parenting plan, others require several changes before their children reach age 19. Both are “normal,” and you should not worry about either scenario. The courts allow Athens divorce and custody modifications because lawmakers know they sometimes prove necessary.
Some reasons why one or both parents may want to modify child custody and/or visitation include:
- The parent’s schedule changed at work.
- The actual schedule does not reflect the court order.
- The child has different needs due to age or circumstances.
- There is a significant concern about the child’s well-being.
- A parent is moving to another state.
Child custody and visitation modifications commonly get contested. We represent clients through this process regularly. Our attorneys know how emotionally draining and stressful this process can be, especially if you worry about your child’s health and well-being. Our compassionate team can walk you through this process from start to finish, ensuring everyone involved hears your concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in Divorce and Child Custody Modifications
Below you will find several questions we often hear from our clients and prospective clients. If these FAQs do not answer your questions or you have additional concerns based on the specific details of your case, reach out to our team for a no-obligation consultation.
How Can I End Spousal Support?
Alimony awarded in Alabama generally does not last longer than a temporary basis. It pays one spouse long enough for them to finish their education, get a new job, or take other steps to re-establish themselves following the end of the marriage. Only occasionally will spousal support offer ongoing payments for many years to come.
There are several reasons why spousal support modifications could prove necessary.
- The remarriage of the recipient
- The recipient significantly increases their income
- The paying spouse loses their job
- An event significantly decreases the money the paying spouse brings in
- Other circumstances change the situation after the initial decree
How Long Do I Have to Wait to File a Petition to Modify?
Alabama law places no time limits on when someone files a Petition to Modify. If a significant change in circumstances warrants a modification, one or both parties could request a change within days of the final decree.
However, this is unlikely. When a judge approves a modification to a previous court order, they base it on a change in circumstances between the time of the initial order and the current date. These modifications require a significant change in circumstances, which usually does not occur this quickly.
Can We Modify Property Division After a Divorce Is Final?
Many modifications are possible after an Athens divorce, but property division decisions generally remain final. Alimony, child support, and child custody matters are Alabama’s most common divorce decree alterations.
If you have an issue with the property division in your Athens divorce, you could have options. Our team can help you understand how this process works.
Will a Change in Parenting Time Alter Child Support?
Alabama child support calculations consider several factors, including how much time the child spends with each parent. The court recalculates child support obligations after any change in custody or parenting time. To this end, a change in parenting time will alter child support.
Alabama law also allows filing a Petition to Modify to change child support based on where the child spends most of their time, a change of income for one or both parents, increased childcare or medical care costs, and other factors.
Can My Teen Choose Which Parent to Live With?
Alabama law gives the judge broad discretion in the case when it comes to listening to a child’s choice of where to live. The judge will only hear the child’s opinion if they deem the child mature enough to make a good choice. Even then, the child’s wishes are only one factor contributing to the judge’s ruling about child custody and visitation.
These rules apply in both the initial court order and any modification petitions. For example, suppose you and the other parent agree that the child should live with the other parent or otherwise alter your parenting plan. In that case, the judge may agree to an uncontested modification.
Discuss Your Options With The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates Today
The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates provides no-obligation evaluations for Athens residents who have questions or need help with divorce and child custody modifications. Our attorneys can offer you compassion and guidance, standing by you through the process from start to finish. Contact us today at (256) 859-7277 for your evaluation.
The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates Athens Office Location:213 South Jefferson Street
Athens, AL 35612