Modification of Final Judgments
Life is constantly changing, and an issue that was previously resolved may need revisiting. This is also true of family law matters, such as those involving child custody, child support, or alimony. If you are wondering about whether you may obtain a modification of a final judgment, it is important to consult a skilled Jackson family law lawyer who can explore the details of your case. At the Hancock Law Firm, we have assisted many Madison, Rankin, and Hinds County Area residents, and we can help you as well.Seeking a Modification of a Final Judgment
A court order issued in a family law matter remains in effect unless and until another order modifies it. As a result, deliberately disobeying a court order or a final judgment is considered contempt of court. In Mississippi, a modification of a family law order will typically only be granted if the person seeking the modification can prove that a “material change in circumstances adversely affecting the minor child” has occurred since the last judgment or order was entered. A judgment will only be modified if the change is substantial. This means that new facts have arisen that render the court’s previous judgment impossible, unfair, or impractical to maintain.
When seeking a child custody order modification, for example, a substantial change in circumstances may include the relocation of a custodial parent, substance abuse issues involving either parent, the child developing serious emotional, academic, or health issues, allegations of child abuse against either parent, or the inability of either parent to carry out their parental duties.
In child support cases, a substantial change in circumstances may include increased needs for the child or a substantial change in income for either parent. In the context of child support, Mississippi requires a change of at least 15 percent in the obligation to pay child support before a modification will be considered. However, if one of the parties is considered low-income, the substantial change threshold is set lower at a 7.5 percent change.
Separate maintenance, also known as alimony, may also sometimes be modified. Modifying alimony orders may be complex because some types of alimony are modifiable, while other types are not. Thus, the ability to modify an existing alimony order depends on the type of alimony that was initially awarded. Generally, however, substantial changes in circumstances that may justify the modification of an alimony order include a substantial increase in the income of either party, the cohabitation of the recipient spouse with someone else, or an unexpected disability through injury or illness of either spouse. In general, the change must be something that could not have been anticipated at the time of the divorce.Enlist a Family Law Lawyer in Jackson to Protect Your Interests
If you are seeking to modify a final judgment, it is important to have an experienced Jackson family law attorney on your side. We understand that modifications are often necessary to keep up with the changes taking place in your life. At the Hancock Law Firm, we will try to make the process as smooth as possible for you. We represent people in communities such as Madison, Ridgeland, Clinton, Flowood, Brandon, Flora, Yazoo City, Carthage, and Vicksburg. To set up an appointment with a divorce attorney, you can reach us at 601-853-2223 or contact us online.