Nothing lasts forever. If you are going through or have experienced a divorce in New York, you know this all too well. However, the inevitability of change doesn’t just apply to marriage — it also applies to your divorce agreement. Unfortunately, the agreements you make during your divorce concerning child support, alimony, and maintenance may be difficult to modify later unless you have had a significant change in your life or if there was fraud involved in the agreement. 

Modifying a divorce-related agreement after it has been adopted and entered by the court is not impossible, but it requires preparation. When you know what to expect before the process begins, it will be easier to gather the evidence needed to support your modification request.

Three Reasons a Court Will Modify a Divorce-Related Agreement

Divorce courts encourage parties to reach agreements on issues. This is because the parties are best at knowing their situation and what will work for their family. These agreements also save the courts time and the parties money, and the parties are generally more satisfied.

For these reasons, courts will routinely adopt the parties’ agreements in divorce cases — unless the court finds that the agreement is unjust, unconscionable, or violates New York State law. 

Some justifications that would support a modification include the following:

Agreement of the Parties

Just as you and your ex can agree on terms during the divorce process, the two of you can also later agree to modify those terms.

For instance, suppose that the parenting plan you and your ex reached during your divorce no longer serves your child’s best interests, perhaps due to a new job schedule. In this case, you and your spouse can agree to modify the parenting plan to fit your situation better, and the court will likely adopt that modification.

Fraud, Coercion, or Duress

A court will set aside an agreement if it becomes apparent that one party took advantage of the other during the negotiation process. Suppose your ex lied to you about a material term (such as their finances) so that you would agree to a certain amount of support. In that case, a court will likely modify the support for either maintenance, alimony, or child support. 

Not just any bad conduct will lead to a modification. The behavior must have been such that it prevented the other party from making a fully informed and voluntary decision about the issue.

Material Change of Circumstances

Many divorce-related agreements and orders can be later changed if you or the other party can show that there has been a material change in life circumstances. Not all life changes will support a modification; the change must be significant and expected to last for some time. Examples include job relocations, long-term illnesses, or catastrophic health issues. 

Seek Help With Modifications From a Buffalo Divorce and Separation Attorney

Modifying existing divorce orders is possible, especially if you can rely on the help of an experienced divorce and separation attorney in Western New York. Your lawyer will help you gather the evidence you need to support your request for modification and present that evidence to the court. 

Having Venzon Law Firm by your side can make the process less intimidating and more accessible. Remember, it’s never too late to live happily ever after.