A divorce agreement is not as rigid and unalterable as many people think. There are certain circumstances under which you or your spouse might want to change the terms of your divorce agreement.
For example, let us assume that you are the one who is paying alimony and child support to your ex-spouse. If you unexpectedly lose your job, you might not be able to keep up with the payments until you find a new job.
Similarly, your spouse might want to relocate to a different city for professional reasons but might not want the children to switch schools midyear. As a result, you might have to take care of the children for a while.
In such cases, certain modifications can be made to the divorce agreement. It can be, however, a complicated process. If you, for instance, modify the child custody agreement, you might also have to modify the child support agreement.
Family Law Modifications in Massachusetts
Under Massachusetts law, you or your spouse can request the court to modify the divorce agreement, as long as you are able to demonstrate that there has been a material change in circumstances, which led to your request for modification. The law allows you to modify the following areas of your divorce agreement.
If the spouse who pays the alimony gets demoted at work, is forced to take a massive pay cut, or loses their job, keeping up with the alimony payments can be a real struggle. In such a scenario, the divorce agreement will have to be modified until they manage to find a new job.
Generally, the spouse who pays the alimony also pays child support, if they have young children. So, if they are not able to pay alimony due to the aforementioned reasons, they might not be able to pay child support as well. Again, in this scenario, the divorce agreement will have to be modified until they are back on their feet.
Child Custody and Visitation Rights
If a parent relocates to a different city due to personal or professional reasons, child custody and visitation agreements might have to be modified based on the length of time each parent gets to spend with their children.
Similarly, if a parent develops a serious physical or mental ailment which renders them unable to care for their children, a modification to the child custody agreement becomes absolutely necessary.
Role of Mediation in Family Law Modifications
Modifying the divorce agreement is not something that can be done at the drop of a hat. If and when the idea is brought up by a spouse, the other spouse might not be receptive to it at all. The spouse who pays alimony and child support might think that the other spouse is being inconsiderate while the recipient might think that the other spouse is not interested in honoring their financial commitment to their children.
An experienced mediator can guide you through the process of modifying your divorce agreement. Since a mediator does not take sides, you and your spouse can express your thoughts freely and state your respective positions regarding alimony, child support, child custody, visitation rights, and various other issues without any hesitation.
The mediator can help you understand the process of modifying a divorce agreement and tell you the legal ramifications of the modifications you intend to make.
The mediator will be with you and your spouse at every step of the process, to make sure that you understand each other’s concerns, and help you come up with reasonable modifications to the divorce agreement based on the best interests of all the parties involved – you, your spouse, and your children.
Speak to a Family Law Modification Mediator in Massachusetts
At Shapiro Mediation Services, we excel at connecting with and achieving favorable outcomes for our clients. No matter the family law modification concern, we are confident we can address it with you.