Can I Modify a Settlement Agreement in New York?

When spouses go through a divorce, they finalize certain arrangements for their marital issues. Before the divorce is official, all decisions must be cleared by a judge. This is true for divorces through mediation as well, as the judge must review the couple’s decisions and either approve or deny them. When a judge reaches these decisions, the conclusion is considered to be the law. This means that once decisions regarding family law are made, they must be followed and can be enforced by the court. However, courts in New York are aware that a family’s situation can change over time throughout life. Because of this, modifications can be made to a settlement agreement after it is decided to accommodate significant changes in life. Modifications can only be made if one or both of the former spouses can prove these changes are major and ongoing.

Child Support 

When children are involved in a divorce, support payments are decided by the court. Sometimes, a parent may request to modify the payment if they experience a change in life which calls for adjustments to be made. This modification can either be an increase or a decrease in the amount a parent owes. Situations in which a modification may be needed can include:

  • A change in custody arrangements
  • Loss of employment
  • An increase or decrease in income
  • If a child requires money for medical treatments

Spousal Support

Like child support, one spouse may owe the other support payments. This is also called Alimony. The amount paid is often decided by the court in order to avoid problems between the spouses. These payments can also be modified if there is a significant change in one or both spouse’s circumstances. This can be a change in the spouse’s ability to pay the support or a spouse’s need to receive it. Modifications can be made to this in the event of:

  • Loss of employment
  • A change in income
  • An illness
  • A spouse’s ability to become financially independent from the other spouse

Custody and Visitation Schedules

A child’s custody arrangement and a parent’s visitation schedule can also be modified. In the event of this, one or both of the parents must provide proof of a major and ongoing change in their life to modify the arrangement. Before a modification is approved, the court will listen to both sides for and against the modification and make a decision that is in the child’s best interest. Reasons for modification may include:

  • If one parent relocates
  • Any medical problems with the child or a parent
  • A change in a parent’s employment
  • Parent alienation
  • A negative change in the child’s school performance

Contact our Firm

If you or someone you know is looking to modify a family arrangement, contact The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

Matters of divorce and family law should be navigated with the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.