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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Change in Circumstance


Term Definition Change in Circumstance - term used as cause to modify an existing court order, either increasing or decreasing the amounts of spousal and/or child support.
Application in Divorce Both spousal and child support may be modified from time to time when the court finds that the circumstances of the situation have changed. Spousal support is typically not modifiable unless it is stated in the final divorce decree or judgment. Also, this is not a standard used to modify property distribution awards after a marital breakup.

Examining an existing child support order is often recommended at least once every two or three years. As the age of the children, income levels of the parents, and time spent with the children change, so should the monthly child support amount. The court will make a determination of whether or not a change is substantial enough to warrant adjusting the support amount. The court will not consider circumstances that have previously existed and been presented to the court and will not adjust support amounts on a frequent basis. Any change that warrants an adjustment of support should be major like a change in income.

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