Tuesday, February 12, 2013
How can I modify my post-judgment family law court order?
Our world is constantly evolving and as such, our individual lives often throw us for a loop that we may have not expected. Many times, when there has been a significant change of circumstances, your court orders relative to your prior family law order may no longer be appropriate.
Depending on the Divorce Judgment and/or Marital Settlement Agreement, some orders are easier to modify than others. That being said, when there's a substantial change in circumstances, current orders may be outdated and a post-judgment modification is likely warranted.
Many times people think that an appeal is their only option when attempting to modify an order. In Family Law, it's fairly routine to modify a temporary (pre-judgment) order. Even post-judgment orders and/or the Divorce Judgment itself can often times be modified without ever filing an extensive or lengthy appeal. Moreover, by the time cases reach my office, often times the time limit to appeal has already lapsed.
When a client requests a modification and/or set aside of a final judgment, we look to relevant statutes, case-law and arguments in equity. Some of the grounds that justify a modification under these circumstances include: newly discovered evidence, a change in circumstance, undue influence or fraud and non-disclosure of assets or asset concealment.
When a new case is brought to Levine Law Group, we carefully review the current order/judgment, analyze the new and relevant facts, and explain your options. We evaluate the cost/benefit analysis and help the client to determine whether filing a legal action and/or negotiating with the other party is likely to produce an outcome that will prove worth your time and money. If necessary, we prepare the appropriate legal pleadings and take all necessary steps to ensure that the matter is handled with compassion, professionalism and skilled experience.
If you are representing yourself, it is a good idea to check with your local county/ Superior Court to determine if there is a facilitator's office that can help you with the extensive paperwork and assist you with understanding the necessary procedures (such as whether or not a document needs to be served in person or by mail, who can serve the pleading, whether an Income and Expense Declaration must be filed etc.) The basic form for Requesting most orders from a California court can be found here.
Keep in mind that many attorney's offer options that are more affordable than full representation. At Levine Law Group we offer our clients document preparation and/or legal coaching as well as full representation.