Once a divorce is finalized and the Final Judgement is field with the court a litigant can finally relax. However, life is unpredictable and circumstances can, and often do, change over time. In Rhode Island, if an earlier Court order or Judgment no longer suits the parties because there has been a substantial change in circumstance since the order or Judgment was issued, the court may be able “modify” the prior order or judgment.
Cases where a modification might be appropriate include those where income changes for either party dramatically, the children are significantly older and perhaps even have become emancipated since the time when the last child support order was issued, or where a person ordered to pay alimony has retired and now has a substantially smaller income than at the time he or she was ordered to pay alimony.
Sometimes a party may want to change an Order or Judgment because there is a legitimate need to do so, and it would be unfair not to allow a change. For example, when there is a typographical mistake in the written judgment, or when the opposing party lied about the existence of a significant asset, and the asset was never divided by the court because of this.
In general, to obtain a modification, a person must prove to the court that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the last Judgment was issued. When the change concerns the placement or custody of a child or children, you must also prove that the proposed change is ultimately in the best interest of the child.
Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help you with the divorce modification process. Whether your claim is about child support, custody, or even division of property, you want to know all of the pros and cons to making the changes. If you have questions about your divorce agreement and would like to know if a modification is appropriate, please contact our law office to schedule a consultation.