There can be certain modifications done to divorce agreements, such as provisions relating to custody, visitation, and child support, which be modified for so long as a child is under the age of 18 or subject to having child support paid for them. Additionally, spousal support, in certain circumstances, can be modified by the court. However, the court’s ability to modify spousal support provisions are dictated by the language of the settlement agreement.
It is very important for a person seeking a modification to a divorce agreement to understand what their rights are, what factors the court will consider in granting or denying that modification, and what the modification process will entail. Additionally, the process by which a divorce agreement may be modified in Virginia can be complicated and must be enacted through the court. It is therefore important any individual seeking a modification to a divorce agreement have an experienced divorce attorney who understands the nuances of the system through which such a modification can be obtained.
Time to Modify
Modifications to custody and visitation can be made if there has been a change in material circumstances impacting the custodial schedule that is in the best interest of the child or children. Child support can be modified when there has been a material change in financial circumstances that would impact the calculation of the child support.
Modifications to spousal support may be made if such modifications are provided for in the agreement. If the agreement states the court has the full ability to modify spousal support, then, the party seeking a modification will have to explain what change to financial circumstances has occurred that warrants a modification of the spousal support order.
Process of Modification
If the parties can engage in mediation or settlement talks to try and resolve the terms between them, and if they are successful in doing so, an attorney can draft up an agreement or an order that would modify the previous agreement and submit that modified agreement or order to the court. If the parties are unwilling or unable to try and resolve the case by way of mediation or settlement, then the party requesting a modification must file a motion with the court requesting the change being sought.
The best way to protect a divorce agreement is to have an experienced lawyer draft that initial agreement. Typically, when an agreement is attacked successfully, it is because it has been drafted poorly. Thus, in order to ensure that a settlement agreement is going to stand the test of time, the most important thing an individual can do is ensure that it is drafted by a knowledgeable divorce lawyer. An experienced family lawyer will be essential in drafting that agreement or modifying in a way the parties will settle on.