Divorce Modification Lawyers in Birmingham
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Divorce Modification Attorneys in Birmingham
When a divorce decree is signed by a judge, it can feel like it is written in stone and unable to be altered. While the court intends for the decree to be followed exactly as written, the court also understands circumstances can change over time. When you retain a divorce modification lawyer in Birmingham, we can help explain when and under what circumstances a judge will change the prior Order. The Courts understand that there are circumstances that warrant modifying the terms of your divorce. All modifications to prior decrees are considered “post-judgment matters.” It is important to note that former spouses cannot create and agree to their own modified terms that conflict with court orders. It is not binding unless the Judge orders it.. Our divorce modification lawyers in Jefferson County commonly modify such issues as alimony, child custody, and visitation rights.
If you need your prior divorce agreement modified and both parties are in agreement to the changes, then our divorce modification lawyers in Birmingham can help. For an uncontested divorce modification our family law attorneys charge a flat fee plus filing fee and it is mostly paperwork and there is not any need to meet in the office or have any hearings in most cases. The filing fee varies from county to county, but in Jefferson County it is well over $300.00. The exact amount depends on what type of case the prior Order was in and what your divorce modification lawyer in Birmingham is trying to alter.
If there is no agreement and you are trying to modify your prior decree without approval of the other party, then your modification lawyer in Birmingham will have to file a contested Petition to Modify. We charge something called a retainer to do this and our divorce attorney bills hourly out of this retainer as they perform work on your case. There will be a hearing in front of the judge where the Court will decide whether to modify your prior decree or not. The divorce modification lawyer in Birmingham will argue and advocate for you to the judge by calling witnesses, presenting evidence, and will try to convince the judge to make the changes. Our modification lawyer in Birmingham currently requires a retainer of thousands of dollars depending on what you are trying to modify and the circumstances around the original case.
Divorce Modifications in Jefferson County
Each particular thing you might want to have our divorce modification lawyer in Birmingham modify for you can vary in how easily it is to achieve and the factors the judge considers. Spousal support or alimony can be modified to be raised, lowered, or eliminated post-divorce. The court must find that there has been a “material change in the circumstances of one or both parties” to alter your prior decree. Some of the circumstances that the court would look to for a “material change” include a change in employment of the receiving spouse, a change in financial circumstances with the parties, remarriage of the parties, an event which significantly increases or decreases the ability to pay alimony, and how much time has elapsed between the initial alimony award and the request for modification. Call us today for a free consultation with our divorce modification lawyer in Birmingham and Jefferson County.
There is no set rule when it comes to determining the amount of alimony a spouse can receive, since the Alabama Supreme Court has said, “each case must be decided upon its own relevant facts in the light of what is fair and reasonable.” It is often believed that only women can receive alimony, but that is untrue and has actually been ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Orr v. Orr, 440 U.S. 268 (1979). In 2018, Alabama law changed regarding the factors to be considered in how alimony is awarded. There are many factors a judge can consider in determining if there has been a material change in circumstances, but our divorce modification lawyer in Birmingham can advocate and argue for your particular stance and give you the best shot at winning your case.
If you want to change the legal status of your child’s custody you must have your divorce modification lawyer in Birmingham file a Petition to Modify Custody. This is a request to the court to hear why you think the child’s custody arrangements should be altered. However, there is a heavy burden of proof on your part to convince the court that a change in custody is warranted. The court uses the “best interest of the child” standard when making the initial custody determination. However, when the non-custodial parent requests custody post divorce, the court uses the more stringent McClendon standard in making their determination. This is because courts are generally hesitant to change or modify a custody arrangement out of concern for the inherent disruptive effects it may have on the child.
The courts like to encourage stability for the child and altering custodial arrangements months or years after a child is used to their current home and living situation may not be in the best interests of the child. Therefore, if you are the non-custodial parent your divorce modification lawyer in Birmingham must not only show that the child will be better off in your custody, but also that the child will be so much better off that it overcomes the concerns of the disruptions in the child’s life that invariably occur from a custody change. A Petition to Modify Custody should be filed in the county where the original custody case was decided. Call our divorce lawyers in Jefferson County today for a free consultation by phone, video, or in person.
When it comes to visitation, the parties are generally free to decide their own visitation schedule if they can agree on one. So if you and your spouse are wanting to change visitation by agreement, the judges will usually not have any issues with what you agree to. If both of you cannot agree then you will have to have our divorce modification lawyers in Birmingham file your Petition to Modify in Jefferson County, Alabama. When filing this petition, the judge has discretion in how they set the visitation schedule, so it can vary county by county. If, for example, you were ordered to follow the standard schedule because you could not agree on a visitation schedule at the time of your divorce, but now you find yourselves able to agree, the court will typically approve a reasonable request if it sees you are both in agreement on the modified schedule.
The division of property as awarded in the divorce decree cannot generally be altered, but the order can be enforced by one party or another if a former spouse is not compliant. Otherwise, most terms of your divorce can be changed by a local divorce modification lawyer in Birmingham or Jefferson County, Alabama. For most Petitions to Modify you must show the court that circumstances have changed enough to warrant a modification. Your divorce modification attorney must generally show that any changes that occur would have a win-win benefit for all involved. This is particularly true if children are involved. In Jefferson County, the Circuit Court has a special Family Court division which handles all divorce modifications. Call us today and let our divorce modification lawyers in Jefferson County file a Petition to Modify for you as soon as possible.
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