Most lawsuits are pretty straightforward, you go to court, the case is tried and a judgment is entered. For example, if you have filed a lawsuit to recover compensation from a slip and fall injury on someone’s premises, and the judge orders the property owner to pay you $5000 in damages, then that is pretty much the end of the story. You can not go back to the judge and ask them to increase the amount, nor can the other person try to get the amount changed to $3000. However, in divorce cases, rules are different. St. Louis divorce lawyer clarifies that some types of judgments can be changed, and it is important to understand which ones can be changed and under what circumstances.
Understanding the term “modifiable” divorce in Missouri
Here, the term “modifiable” means that the court that has entered the judgment has the authority to change that term in the future under appropriate circumstances. However, courts do not modify judgments on their own. One of the parties has to make a request to the court to make the change. This change should only be based upon a change in circumstances. St. Louis divorce lawyer explains that certain divorce terms are always modifiable, while others may or may not be.
Child support: These judgments are always modifiable because courts have to protect the child’s best interests. No one, including the judge and the parents, has the ability to predict the changes that can occur in the family’s future. So, the court needs the ability to review the family’s situation from time to time and ensure that the child is financially stable. It’s important to note that child support can be modified if there is a continuing and substantial change of circumstances.
Alimony or maintenance: Alimony judgments can be modifiable or non-modifiable depending upon how the terms are written. If the judgment states that alimony is non-modifiable, the court no longer has the ability to change the judgment, regardless of the circumstances. However, if the judgment is termed modifiable, this means the court has the ability to modify the maintenance amount if there has been a continuing and substantial change in circumstances.
Child Custody: In Missouri, child custody is set using a parenting plan. It is always a modifiable judgment for the same reason as child support is: the court has to protect the best interests of the child. The judgment can be modified in case there has been a change in circumstances. The change has to be significant as in the case of child support. The court can then decide if a change in the parenting plan is in the best interest of the child.
Divorce and the surrounding legalities are extremely complex for anyone to navigate on their own. So, it’s important to have a competent and experienced St. Louis divorce lawyer on your side, who can protect your best interests.