We Petition For And Defend Against Modifications To Existing Orders

Your life doesn't stop changing after you sign a divorce agreement, nor do the lives of your children. A former spouse may remarry, a child's extracurricular activities may no longer coordinate well with an existing parenting plan, or one parent's salary may increase due to a new job or significant promotion. In these circumstances, a divorce agreement may need to be modified to accurately reflect any new developments.

The Law Offices of Susan L. Ward, LLC, has assisted clients with the modification of divorce, support or custody decrees for more than 20 years. We can help you demonstrate why your divorce agreement needs to be modified in light of a substantial change in circumstances or challenge an effort to modify an existing agreement.

Understanding When An Order Can Be Modified

Custody and support modifications have their own unique considerations and variables under Missouri law:

Modifying custody or a parenting plan — Missouri requires a substantial and continuing change in circumstances for a child or a parent in order to modify custody. A substantial and continuing change is subjective, so it's important to consult a knowledgeable practitioner. Generally speaking, it is referred to as a change that is ongoing such that it is making the parenting plan/time no longer in the best interest of children.

Child support modification — If there is a 20 percent change in the Form 14 calculation that is used to help determine child support, an automatic modification consideration is generated. The court will review what caused the change and whether the change may be temporary. The court has great leeway in granting or denying a support modification. That is why it is important to enlist the services of a family law attorney like Ms. Ward, who understands what is required to successfully advocate for or defend against a petition to modify an existing order.

Spousal support modification — Spousal support is difficult to modify and even more difficult to terminate. If a spouse is paying or receiving maintenance and then becomes disabled and living expenses change, it may be appropriate for the receiver to ask for an adjustment.

All of these issues can be extremely complex, and in order to arrive at a best possible outcome, it is extremely beneficial to work with an experienced lawyer.

We Are Committed To Helping Clients With Modification Petitions

Under Missouri law, modifications may only be granted where any change in circumstances is "so substantial and continuing as to make the terms (of the current agreement) unreasonable." Common examples of a substantial change in circumstances that may necessitate modification of a child custody, child support or alimony/maintenance order include:

  • An ex-spouse remarrying
  • An ex-spouse either losing their job, acquiring a more lucrative job or retiring
  • A parent relocating after acquiring a new job
  • A child no longer requiring child support after turning 18
  • A child requiring additional support after high school due to attending college or a technical school
  • The financial needs or expenses of a child changing over time
  • A parent being accused of abusing the child or being an unfit parent

Contact Us For Experienced Legal Assistance

While the modification of divorce decrees is a complicated legal issue, we are fully prepared to protect your best interests. Call 314-783-9400 or use our online contact form to schedule a convenient consultation.