Divorce is a complex and emotional process that often involves numerous legal agreements and court orders to settle issues such as child custody, spousal support, and property division. However, life doesn’t stop evolving after the ink has dried on your divorce papers. Circumstances change, and what once worked for your family may no longer be suitable. In such cases, a Grand Rapids divorce modification lawyer can be your ally in seeking post-divorce modifications.
After a divorce is granted, there is what they call post-judgment modification, and if you seek one or more modifications, you need the help of Grand Rapids judgment modification attorneys. These modifications are just usual in a divorce. In time, the lives of the spouses, including their children, change. And these life changes mean that the previous court settlement needs some amendments. Most of the time, the property asset judgments will remain the same.
As with any other case, there are two sides to this modification. One party seeks the modification, and the other one is the party that believes a modification is unnecessary. Regardless of which side you are on, our team of dedicated family attorneys is always ready to help. We will help you achieve a fair modification regarding the court decision. Most of these cases involve but are not limited to spousal support, child support, visitation rights, and child custody. Similar to the divorce process, the post-judgment modification process is also stressful work. The best way to deal with it is to consult divorce modification attorneys. We will help you understand how the process works and guide you on the best action to take.
Don’t Risk Unofficial Agreements for Child or Spousal Support Modifications in Grand Rapids
At John Engman & Associates, P.C., we are a divorce modification attorney in Grand Rapids who understands that resolving disputes without going to court is often the preferred approach for divorcing spouses. However, when it comes to modifying child or spousal support, relying solely on informal agreements can lead to complications down the road.
Consider this scenario: An obligor spouse experiences financial hardships and communicates to the recipient spouse that meeting full alimony and child support obligations is currently impossible. The recipient’s spouse empathizes with the situation and agrees to a 30 percent reduction in support payments until the obligor’s financial situation improves. Since both parties are in agreement, they fail to formalize their arrangement or seek court approval. Several months later, a disagreement arises, and the recipient’s spouse takes legal action against the obligor for nonpayment.
While the obligor might convince the court to order a modification of 25 percent at that time, this change only applies to future payments. Crucially, the obligor remains responsible for the unpaid back payments, despite the recipient having previously agreed to the reduction.
If you and your spouse can come to new terms, whether with or without legal representation from John Engman & Associates, P.C. in Grand Rapids, that’s a positive step. However, it’s essential to remember that until you obtain a new court order formalizing those terms, you are legally obligated to adhere to the original support arrangements. Don’t risk your financial well-being—seek professional legal guidance to ensure your interests are protected during support modifications.
Modifications to Support and Custody
Among the most common modifications are child support and custody. When it comes to child support, the needs of the child increase as time goes by. Thus, one party might want a modification or an increase in terms of child support. It is also possible that the party with child custody had some loss of income. Any circumstances that affect the income of one party could be a ground for filing a modification. If one party had to do his / her job in a different place that affects parenting time, a modification can also be filed.
In Grand Rapids, at John Engman & Associates, P.C., our dedicated post-divorce modification attorney is well-versed in assisting parents with requests for modifications to parenting time orders. According to Section 722.27a of the Michigan Child Custody Act, there are several valid grounds for seeking such modifications:
- Insufficient Time with a Parent: If one parent is not receiving the court-allocated amount of parenting time, we can help you address this issue.
- Child’s Best Interests: When spending time with one parent is deemed not in the best interests of the child, we can advocate for necessary changes.
Post Divorce Reclarification for Parents in Grand Rapids
Additionally, there are scenarios where the existing parenting time order may need further clarification. These include:
- Transportation Arrangements: Determining responsibilities for arranging transportation for the child during visitations.
- Presence of Third Parties: Imposing restrictions on the presence of third parties during parenting time.
- Cancellation Notices: Establish requirements for providing notice when parenting time is canceled or cannot occur for any reason.
- Specific Instructions: Provide clear instructions on preparing the child for parenting time and specifying pick-up and drop-off details.
To guide the court in making informed decisions, it considers the parenting time factors outlined in MCL 722.27a(7). These factors include:
Special Circumstances or Needs of the Child
- This factor includes any unique circumstances or specific needs that the child may have. For instance, if a child has a medical condition, special educational requirements, or other individualized needs, the court will take these into consideration when determining parenting time modifications. The goal is to ensure that the child’s well-being and best interests are met.
Child’s Age and Nursing Status
- The age of the child is crucial in determining parenting time modifications. For nursing children, especially those under 6 months of age, or under 1 year if nursing provides substantial nutrition, the court will consider the importance of maintaining a consistent and nurturing environment. This factor recognizes the significance of breastfeeding and bonding during early infancy.
Likelihood of Abuse or Neglect
- Assessing the likelihood of child abuse or neglect during parenting time is of paramount importance. The court will thoroughly examine any evidence or concerns related to the safety and well-being of the child. If there is credible information indicating potential harm, the court may modify parenting time to protect the child.
Abuse of a Parent
- This factor focuses on evaluating the likelihood of abuse directed toward a parent as a result of the parenting time arrangement. It’s essential to ensure the safety and emotional well-being of both the child and the parents involved. If there is a history of domestic violence or abusive behavior, the court will consider this when making modifications.
- When determining parenting time modifications, the court weighs the inconvenience and impact on the child caused by travel. Long distances or excessive travel time may disrupt a child’s routine, education, and extracurricular activities. Minimizing travel-related stress for the child is a key consideration.
Parent’s Ability to Exercise Parenting Time
- The court assesses whether a parent can reasonably adhere to the court-ordered parenting time schedule. Factors such as work commitments, transportation issues, and a parent’s willingness to cooperate are taken into account. Modifications may be necessary if a parent consistently struggles to meet the schedule.
Past Parenting Time Compliance
- A parent’s history of regularly exercising parenting time is a critical factor. If one parent has consistently upheld their parenting time obligations, it demonstrates their commitment to the child’s well-being. Conversely, a history of non-compliance may lead to modifications in favor of the responsible parent.
Threatened or Actual Detention
- In cases where there is a threat or actual detention of the child with the intent to retain or conceal them from the other parent or a third person with legal custody, the court takes immediate action. The child’s safety and the preservation of the parent-child relationship are priorities.
Other Relevant Factors
- This catch-all factor allows the court to consider any additional pertinent factors affecting parenting time. It provides flexibility in addressing unique circumstances or concerns that may not fit neatly into the other listed categories. The court’s primary concern is always the child’s best interests.
These factors collectively guide the court’s decision-making process when assessing parenting time modifications. They ensure that any changes made to parenting time orders are made with the child’s well-being and best interests as the top priority.
Furthermore, the court prioritizes the best interests of the child, considering the 12 best interest factors, which may include the child’s emotional well-being, stability, and overall welfare. If a parenting time modification request could result in a change of custody, it must align with the child’s best interests to be granted by the court.
At John Engman & Associates, P.C., we are committed to helping parents in Grand Rapids navigate the complexities of parenting time modifications, ensuring the best interests of the child are upheld throughout the process.
Modifications to Spousal Maintenance for Couples in Grand Rapids
If you are in a situation where you think that spousal support or maintenance is not needed anymore, you can have this modified. However, do not do this too soon. The court might not see this as a fair action, and your filing for modification would just fail or be deemed irrelevant. Before making any move, it is best to have your situation assessed by post-divorce modification attorneys. Due to the many rules and legal guidelines when it comes to divorce modifications, you need a dedicated attorney at your side.
After reviewing your situation, we will create a petition for modification. This will be served to the other party. We will have to wait for their response; either they agree or contest the modification. This legal matter will be brought to court once the other party decides to contest the petition. And when in court, our attorney will help you argue your cases and get a favorable result.
FAQ of a Divorce Modification Lawyer
Can I request a modification on my own, or do I need a divorce modification lawyer?
You can technically request a modification on your own, but it’s highly advisable to consult with a Grand Rapids divorce modification lawyer. They can provide legal expertise, guide you through the process, and increase your chances of a successful modification.
How do I know if my change in circumstances is significant enough to warrant a modification?
A Grand Rapids divorce modification lawyer can assess the situation and advise you on whether your change in circumstances qualifies for a modification. Significant changes in income, health, or family dynamics often meet the criteria.
What is the process for seeking a post-divorce modification in Grand Rapids?
The process typically involves filing a petition with the court, notifying the other party, gathering evidence to support your request, and attending hearings if necessary. Your lawyer will manage these steps for you.
Can modifications be made through negotiation or mediation instead of going to court?
Yes, many modifications can be resolved through negotiation or mediation. Your lawyer can facilitate these discussions with the other party to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
What if the other party disagrees with the modification I’m proposing?
If you can’t reach an agreement through negotiation, your Grand Rapids divorce modification lawyer can represent you in court. The judge will then make a decision based on the evidence presented by both parties.
How long does it typically take to secure a post-divorce modification in Grand Rapids?
The timeframe can vary depending on the complexity of your case and court availability. It may take several months or more, so it’s essential to start the process as soon as possible.
What if my ex-spouse is not complying with the existing divorce agreement while we are seeking a modification?
our family lawyer can address non-compliance issues and file necessary motions with the court to enforce the existing order while the modification request is pending.
How can I ensure that my post-divorce modification is legally binding and enforceable?
Working with a knowledgeable family lawyer is key to ensuring your modification is properly documented, filed, and enforced, making it legally binding and enforceable.
To effectively deal with divorce matters, you need to be well-presented in court with the help of divorce modification attorneys. We will help you face this legal matter swiftly and efficiently. Do not hesitate to contact us so we can discuss if you have a good case and proceed with the right actions.
At John Engman & Associates, P.C., our Grand Rapids, Michigan, divorce attorneys will do everything in their power to help you through this difficult time. To request a consultation with one of our Grand Rapids, MI, drug lawyers, give our office a call at (616) 454-5222.