Post-Divorce Modifications: Making Necessary Changes
The only thing that is certain in life is change. If your life has changed substantially since your divorce or allocation of parental rights order became final, you may need to file a modification to the court ordered child custody, child support, spousal support or property division agreement
If you have lost your job or for some other reason cannot keep up with your child support payments, do not make an informal agreement with your child’s other parent. It will not hold up in court. Unless and until you file for a post-divorce modification, you will continue to owe the original amount of child support.
Because requests for modifications require strict compliance with West Virginia statues, they should not be sought without the assistance of an experienced lawyer. I am family law attorney J. Burton Hunter, III. From my office in Buckhannon, West Virginia, I help clients modify court orders to reflect their current circumstances.
Contempt of Court Orders
I also take action to enforce existing court orders for child support, custody or visitation, spousal support and distribution of assets and debts. Did your ex say he’d pay off the credit card debt but never did, and now creditors are coming after you? Are you paying child support as ordered, but your ex won’t let you see your kids? Please contact my office to arrange a free initial consultation.
There are limits to what circumstances qualify for a post-divorce modification. Some people believe that if the custodial parent loses a job or remarries, they can assume primary custody of the children. That won’t work in West Virginia. The laws are written to protect the parental rights of parents with modest means from losing their children to a more wealthy parent.
To modify custody, there must be serious problems that endanger the child, for example a drug or alcohol problem.
Endangering the Child
In one case, a boy’s mother died of cancer and nominated her sister as guardian, but the 14-year-old boy wanted to live with his dad. Representing the boy’s aunt, I showed the court that the father was not only addicted to drugs and alcohol, his occupation put the boy at risk. The man was a federal drug informant whose testimony had put many people in prison. When they got out, there was a reasonable chance that those people would track down the dad and try to kill him, endangering the boy in the process.
Every family’s situation is different. To discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer, please call toll free 304-472-7477. The initial consultation is free of charge.