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Modifying A Court Order

Modifying A Court Order

Changing a Court Order or Judgment – Medford Divorce Lawyer

It is not uncommon in domestic relations cases that circumstances change that warrant a modification of a court order or judgment.  Typically, if a court order or judgment is no longer practical, functional, or appropriate due to a significant change in circumstances then you will be able to change the order or judgment.  In general, to modify a court order or judgment in the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court you will need to prove that a material change in circumstances has occurred since the last judgment was issued.  A Complaint for Modification must be filed to modify a judgment and Motion to Modify is needed to change a temporary order.  However, not all agreements are modifiable and not all portions of agreements are modifiable.  When it comes to modification, the details matter and a careful review of your agreement is required.  Also, a comprehensive look at the circumstances at the time the order/judgment was issued compared to the present circumstances may not always reveal a significant change.

Common Areas of Modification in Massachusetts

While each case is unique, typically the court may make changes to orders or judgments in the following areas:

  1. Spousal Support/Alimony – There must be a change in circumstances that affects the recipient spouse's “need” for support or the payee spouse's ability to pay.  To determine if there has been a change in circumstances that court can consider all relevant statutorily imposed alimony factors.  When assessing if there has been a substantial change in the financial circumstances the court will consider remarriage, cohabitation, retirement, or anything that may have created a material change in a parties' economic circumstances.
  2.  Child Support – If there is a change in economic status where the existing child support order would be different under the Child Support Guidelines then the court will likely adjust the child support amount to reflect the current guideline amount. The court will consider other factors such as if the obligor had a subsequent child or the child has special needs.  It is important to understand that child support cannot be modified retroactively.  Thus, it is important that if there is a material change in circumstances that you file a Complaint for Modification as soon as possible to avoid overpayment.
  3. Custody and Visitation – As children grow and mature the potential for a material change in circumstances are almost limitless. Beyond the changes to a child, a parent's circumstances may change if they become psychically or mentally ill, become incarcerated, suffer from substance abuse, or need to relocate due to a change in employment.  Even where there is a significant change in circumstances the court must find that the proposed change in the order/judgment is in the child's best interest.

An experienced Massachusetts modification lawyer who is proficient in the nuances of the modification laws can help you determine if your situation meets the legal standards to modify your order or judgment.  Call Lambert Legal for a free no-obligation consultation 781-754-6822.

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Lambert Legal is a family law and divorce firm in Medford, Massachusetts. We serve clients throughout the Middlesex County area including Winchester, Somerville, Cambridge, Malden, Arlington, Woburn, Burlington, Boston, Essex County, and Suffolk County. Call For Free Consultation: 781-754-6822