What Qualifies for
a Modification?

The Census Bureau’s Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2017 report indicates that only about 69.8% of custodial parents who were due child support in 2017 received at least some payments from non-custodial parents. In California, a party to a divorce seeking a modification to a family law arrangement may file a post-decree motion in court.

If you wish to modify an existing child custody order, child support arrangement, or spousal support agreement, consulting with a knowledgeable California family law attorney is needed for detailed guidance. Our team is committed to offering comprehensive legal guidance in post-decree modification matters. We are available to discuss your situation and help you understand your legal options.

At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, we proudly serve clients throughout San Jose, Morgan Hill, Fremont, Hayworth, and Alameda County, California.

What is a Post-Decree Modification?

A post-decree modification can be described as a motion for change requested by either spouse after a divorce or legal separation, seeking that an original family law decree should be modified. Post-decree modifications can affect alimony, child custody, or child support. Either spouse may file a post-judgment motion to:

  • Reflect a substantial change in circumstances since the original decree was made
  • Show a breach of contract by the other spouse

Types of Post-Decree Modifications

The most common types of post-decree modifications in California include:

  • Child Custody/Support: Post-decree litigation may arise due to a disagreement or breach of contract involving child-related matters, such as custody, support, medical care, and parenting time.
  • Spousal Support: If there is a substantial change in circumstances, either party to the divorce may file a post-decree motion requesting that the California court review the amount or duration of alimony.
  • Contempt: If the paying spouse or non-custodial parent is delinquent on child support or alimony payments, the concerned spouse may file a contempt action seeking to have the California court enforce the existing court order and punish the defaulting ex-spouse.

Child Custody/Support

Under California law, child custody, visitation, or support orders may be modified anytime the court finds it "necessary and proper" in the child's best interests (California Family Code Section 3022). The parent seeking modification must show that:

  • There is a significant change of circumstances
  • The request for modification is in the child's best interests

Some reasons to file a motion to modify child custody, visitation, or support order include:

  • Increase in the child's needs
  • Allegations of child endangerment, abuse, or neglect
  • Physical relocation
  • Visiting schedule issues
  • Changes in the work schedule of the non-custodial parent
  • Death of a parent
  • Changes in the educational requirements of the child
  • Changes in the health of the child or custodial parent
  • One parent remarrying
  • One parent is behaving irresponsibly

Spousal Support

Either spouse can file a motion to modify a spousal support arrangement. Pursuant to California Family Code Section 3603, "a spousal support order may be modified or terminated at any time except as to an amount that accrued before the date of the filing of the notice of motion or order to show cause to modify or terminate."

Some reasons to file a motion to modify or terminate alimony include:

  • Significant decrease or increase in income
  • Involuntary loss of employment or wage reduction
  • Remarriage of the supported spouse
  • Reduced need for support
  • Addition of children to support
  • Relocation to a new city with a higher or lower cost of living
  • A sudden illness, incapacitation, or disability that prevents the paying spouse from working
  • Early retirement

Hire an Experienced Attorney

A post-decree modification can have a significant effect on your children and their future. Filing a post-decree modification in California involves a lot of complicated procedures. If you wish to file a post-judgment motion or seek the modification of an existing family law order, consulting with an experienced California family law attorney is important to protect your rights and gain detailed guidance.

At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, our attorneys are devoted to handling complex family law matters and divorce issues related to post-decree modifications. As your representation, we can review the circumstances surrounding your situation and guide you throughout the modification process, from start to finish.

Our knowledgeable attorneys work diligently with all parties involved to negotiate a fair settlement agreement. We will also help resolve pending divorce issues and relationship differences peacefully and quickly. Our team will fight compassionately to protect your rights, your future, and your family's best interests. We're always available to help you in the way that works best for you.


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