Life after divorce will include some dramatic changes, and while divorce itself is final, the legal rights and obligations arising from the divorce may not be. Several legal issues crop up time and again which need to be addressed through post judgment modifications. North Carolina courts realize that their final orders may require modification from time to time. When things do change, and they will, the only order the court has to rely on is its most recent one entered. Despite the best intentions of the parties, without formal court approval, your agreements may not be enforceable. And, when parties cannot agree about what needs to happen when changes occur, the court will decide whether modifications are necessary based on substantial changes in circumstances.
A substantial change in circumstances might include the loss of a job, a lottery win, remarriage, or relocation of you or your former spouse. Of course, these are not the only elements rising to the level of substantial changes for which a court might consider modifying an existing order for support or custody. Whatever the material issue, the court will require proof and documentation of the change of circumstances.
For support modifications, loss or change of employment, positive or negative drastic changes in financial circumstances, health and disability issues, increased living expenses, may all be considered changes significantly sufficient to warrant post judgment modifications. In the case of post judgment child custody modifications, a parent’s relocation or change in lifestyle may be considered a substantial change in circumstances. Even if circumstances that affect a child change substantially, the court will not modify custody unless it is in the best interest of the child.
In the case of post judgment spousal support or alimony modifications, it may be considered a substantial change in circumstances if the support recipient’s expenses drastically change or the supporting spouse’s income substantially changes.
It is a sad reality that even in the best negotiated cases, sometimes a party must be forced to comply with final orders issued by the courts. When one party is recalcitrant in their obligations, the courts will take steps to ensure that a party complies voluntarily or will take the necessary steps to ensure compliance. If you find yourself in a position that requires you to seek enforcement of an order in your family law case, seek the assistance of a qualified, experienced family law attorney.
Monty Beck is a Board Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law. His extensive experience and that of his legal team is a reliable resource when you need post-divorce modification. With their detailed knowledge of the relevant statutes, rules and laws, Monty and his team can quickly assess your circumstances to determine if your significant change in circumstances meets the threshold required by the courts in North Carolina.
Interstate Family Support
Pursuant to Federal mandate, the North Carolina General Assembly has adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This Act applies to child support and spousal support proceedings relative to orders from courts in other states registered in North Carolina after January 1, 1996. If you were receiving child support or spousal support pursuant to an order entered by the courts of another state and the person paying you support has moved to North Carolina, you may register and enforce that order through the North Carolina courts. Several conditions apply.