Typically, court orders regarding custody, visitation, child support and spousal support are always subject to modification. Courts realize that, when circumstances change, court orders based on different circumstances must similarly be changed.
People lose or change their jobs, with the result that the income on which the original support order was based may be either significantly higher or significantly lower. Children get older, as a result of which a parent’s timeshare with the child may be different than when the child support order was initially calculated. Sometimes, for legitimate reasons such as remarriage or employment opportunities, one of the parents has to move from the area.
In all of the above circumstances, courts have the ability to modify existing court orders. However, they cannot modify these orders retroactively. They can only do so going forward.
- Courts realize that, when circumstances change, court orders based on different circumstances must similarly be changed.
- Courts cannot modify existing court orders retroactively.
- The fact that neither party is demanding compliance with an existing court order does not mean that the order is not in effect or that it cannot be enforced.
Often, parties discuss the need to change the existing order and mistakenly believe they have reached a verbal agreement. As a result, they do not reduce their agreement to writing, or actually seek a modification of the existing order. The net result is that, years later, one party or the other ends up owing the other thousands of dollars that he or she thought that he or she did not have to pay and which the court has no ability to retroactively modify.
Court orders remain in effect, and both parties are obligated to follow them, until they are modified by a subsequent court order or a written agreement signed by the parties. The fact that neither party is demanding compliance with an existing court order does not mean that the order is not in effect or that it cannot be enforced. Let us help you modify court orders that need to be changed so that your rights are fully protected.