Modification of Orders

Under California Law, certain orders may be modified after a final judgment has been made.

There are three areas in which post-judgment modifications are commonplace– Child Custody/Visitation Orders, Child Support orders, and Spousal Support orders.

The court will not Modify the Property Division that has been Adjudicated by a Final Judgment, however, there is a possibility that even such judgments may be rescinded if a timely set-aside motion under Ca Civ Pro § 473(b) or Ca Fam § 2120 et seq. set-aside proceeding on statutorily-prescribed grounds and within statutorily-prescribed time limits is brought.

Modification of Child Custody/Visitation Orders:
Child custody and visitation orders are generally modifiable whenever the court finds a modification is “necessary or proper” and in the child’s best interests. [Ca Fam § 3022]. Typically, the parent seeking a modification must show a “significant change of circumstances” that would support such a modification.

Modification of Child Support Orders:
Child support orders are modifiable “at any time as the court deems necessary.” Even if the parties have agreed that support may not be modified, child support may be modified at any time to the mandatory statewide child support guidelines.

Modification of Spousal Support Orders: Spousal support awards and agreements are modifiable throughout the support period except as to amounts accrued prior to filing of application for modification and except as otherwise provided by agreement of the parties. However, unlike child support, the court’s continuing power to modify spousal support is dependent on the terms of the court’s order. Unless jurisdiction to award support has been reserved, postjudgment spousal support is limited by the stated duration of the order. [Ca Fam §§ 3603, 3651(c), 4333, 4335]

Modification of Family Support:
A “Family support” order may be modified to separate orders for child and spousal support where there has been a change of circumstances justifying increased child support.

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