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Post-Decree Family Law Lawyer

Following the dissolution of a marriage or relationship, different types of court orders may be put in place, including child support, child custody, and spousal support. However, as time goes on, circumstances change that may necessitate a change in these court orders. Modification proceedings will ensue, and our law firm will help walk you through them.

Post Decree Modification of Child Support in Birmingham and throughout Alabama

Modifications to child support may be temporary or permanent. Temporary orders are typical in cases where an emergency arises. For example, if the custodial parent becomes injured and the non-custodial parent assumes care of the child while they recover, support may be suspended for the period of time the child is with the non-custodial parent. 

Factors Considered in Child Support Modification

Child support orders are typically modified when there has been a change in circumstances by either party or the child. Courts will consider many different factors when determining if a support order should be modified. Common factors are described below. 


When one or more children subject to the order have reached the age of emancipation, the order may be modified to remove them and order support only for those children still under the age of 18. 


If any of the parties become disabled, the court may consider modifying the support amount. This includes any special needs the children under the order may develop.

Change in Income

If either of the parties becomes unemployed through no fault of their own, the court may consider the reduction in income as a reason to modify the support order. On the other hand, if either of the parties has an increase in gross income, the court may consider that as well. 

Additional Children

When either of the parties has another child, the court may use this information to modify child support. 

How are Changes Made to Child Support?

Either party may file a motion with the court to have the matter of child support modification heard by a judge. They also have the option of hiring an attorney to help with a modification, or they may seek the services of their local child support office. 

The parties may agree to modify the support, but keep in mind that the original order is still in effect until a new order is entered. This means that even if the parties come to an agreement outside of court, that agreement must go through the court system to become enforceable.

Post Decree Modification of Child Custody

Child custody can be a contentious topic for many parents. That said, many parents are also able to arrive at a custody agreement together. Once a custody or visitation order has been issued, it is enforceable. Not fulfilling each parent's respective obligations can result in both criminal and civil action, depending on the facts and circumstances. 

Child custody orders, however, are not static and aren't intended to be. If a parent needs to modify it, they may be able to do so. But there are rules that must be followed and requirements that must be satisfied. 

How is a Child Custody Order Modified?

Co-parents can agree to modify their court-ordered child custody arrangements on their own. While this is the best and easiest solution, it's always best to file the changes with the court to safeguard your rights and avoid future problems. 

In lieu of a mutual agreement, two things must happen to modify a custody order:

  1. You must file a petition to modify a custody or visitation order in family court; and

  2. Your petition must identify a substantial change of circumstances and that the modification due to the latter is in the best interests of the child. 

Once the petition is filed, a custody modification hearing will be put on the calendar. At that hearing, the parent who filed the petition must explain and lay out the evidence for the substantial change in circumstances.

Post Decree Spousal Support Modification

Alimony, also referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support, is a series of payments made by one spouse to the other spouse during or after their divorce. Like many ongoing obligations after a divorce, spousal support payments can be modified when certain facts and circumstances exist. You must follow the proper procedures, however, to make sure modification is successful.

To modify court-ordered spousal support, the court will consider any number of factors. Some of these factors could include:

  • Changes in employment and the reasons for the changes (e.g., a demotion due to company-wide changes versus poor performance)

  • Impairment of either spouse's earning capacity (e.g., one spouse was injured and cannot perform the same job functions)

  • How long payments have been made versus how much longer until they are terminated (e.g., paid only for one year versus ten years)

  • Whether the supported party has made an effort to become self-sufficient (e.g., long-term, progressive work experience versus sporadic work)

Contact a Family Law Lawyer in Birmingham and throughout Alabama Today

When you have an issue after a divorce or separation judgment has been entered, you may still need legal advice or representation. The judgment must be enforced and applied accordingly. Sometimes, however, modifications may be needed, and so modification proceedings will ensue. At Ritchey Legal, PLLC we will help make sure that any action taken after a judgment is entered is taken properly and timely. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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