When Can an Alabama Family Court Order Be Modified?

You received your orders from the court. They dictate what your divorce looks like, how child custody and visitation move forward, and what types of child support or alimony are owed. But, what happens when circumstances change?

It’s important to understand these orders aren’t final. You have options to improve your situation – whether that means more time with your children or paying less (or being paid more) child support or alimony. Alabama law lays out the specific circumstances that must be present in order to modify a family court order.

Modifying Alabama Child Custody Orders

As we mentioned in our article focused on this subject last June, Alabama courts will only change child custody orders if the change is in the best interest of the child. Most importantly, the change will be made if the party requesting the change is able to prove that the child’s healthy and safety are at risk.

Short of that, circumstantial changes will be considered. Is one parent moving so far away that the current custody and visitation schedule is no longer reasonable? Is the custodial parent attempting to move away with the child without notifying the court? Has the preference of the child changed?

These issues are all taken into consideration though the courts are hesitant to make changes. Stability is important for children in Alabama and the court will protect that.

Modifying Alabama Child Support Orders or Alimony Orders

Making changes to child support or alimony is another story. There are a number of circumstances where the court will consider a change to the previous order. For instance, if you get a child custody order change then the support will likely change to reflect the new visitation schedule.

Additionally, if the paying parent is now earning significantly more then the court may step in and ask them to provide more for the child. The same sometimes works in reverse – if the paying parent loses their job or faces significant financial hardship then the support may lessen, though the court will want proof that the child is still being provided for. The judge uses specific child support guidelines to determine the final number.

Alimony is similarly tied to the financial circumstances of both parties. If the paying spouse makes more, more may be owed. If the receiving spouse suddenly makes significantly more or gets remarried then the court may terminate payments altogether.

Talk to an Experienced Alabama Family Law Attorney

Ultimately, it’s up to you to ensure you are following the orders you receive and to understand when a change is necessary. Your best bet to secure modifications to an Alabama family law order is to speak to a family law attorney.

Attorney John M. Totten believes in the power of representation and is ready when you need him most.

John M. Totten