Every divorce is different. As circumstances change, your divorce agreement may need a divorce modification. Once approved by the judge, your divorce agreement becomes an order of the court. Even if both parties agree to a change made in the agreement, it may be wise to submit the modification to the court for approval.
A case that results in a modification typically involves a substantial change. These changes may range from the loss of a job that affects child support to a case where one parent moves out of state. It is important that your divorce agreement be drafted properly so that the court can modify it.
Under Massachusetts law, either party may bring a modification complaint forward if the separation agreement merges into the judgment of divorce. The legal standard says that the request should demonstrate “a material change in circumstances since then entry of the earlier judgment.”
Modifications in Massachusetts
Child support is an area that tends to be the subject of most modifications in Massachusetts. Child support guidelines in the state follow certain principles, encouraging joint parental responsibility for child support in proportion to income and minimizing the economic impact on the child’s standard of living. Recognizing the factors of health coverage for the child is also important, along with maintaining the cost of two households.
Disputes over child custody can be costly not only financially, but can have an impact on you, your co-parent and your child. Children thrive when they have loving and supportive relationships with both parents though circumstances can change. Divorce agreements in Massachusetts try to avoid traditional terms like “custody” or “visitation.” “Parenting time” is likely used when describing the children’s schedule.
Another area that tends to be modified in Massachusetts is alimony. Modifying alimony depends on the order’s entry, a material change in circumstances and the remarriage or cohabitation of the recipient spouse.
Divorce agreements may not last forever and filing a complaint for modification could resolve a change in circumstance. The status of your case may impact how to facilitate a change in your divorce agreement. It may be to your benefit to work with an attorney while filing a complaint of modification.