POST DIVORCE MODIFICATION

What You Need to Know About Post-Divorce Modification in Mississippi

When there is a family law judgment to which you are a party with active provisions for children or spousal support—it ain’t over. At R+E, we spend about as much time helping people with post judgment issues as we do with anything else, because life is filled with many changes you could have never anticipated at the time of your divorce or original Court Order.

If you fall into the category of people that were divorced years ago and have never gone back to court, Congratulations! You are the exception and not the rule. Regardless of how long it has been, certain things will always be reviewable and subject to modification when circumstances change, including child support and other financial issues concerning children, custody, visitation, and permanent alimony.

Child Support Modification in Mississippi

Sometimes circumstances come up where child support needs to be readdressed. In Mississippi, the person requesting modification must prove one key thing: a material change in circumstances relating to the child or a parent since the award of child support. To prove a material change has occurred, the spouse must also show the change he or she is claiming was not foreseeable at the time the court originally determined child support. If the parties could have reasonably foreseen the change in circumstances, the chancellor will not likely grant modification. Obviously, the most common changes are financial in nature, such as an increase or decrease in the payor’s income.

Custody Modification in Mississippi

Your children are the center of your world. You’ll be happy to know Mississippi courts put children first too. In all cases where the well being of children is the central issue, the court’s polestar consideration is their best interest. As a result, all decisions made by the court will be done through the lens of what is best for the children. Usually a court is hesitant to modify custody, because maintaining stability in a child’s life is generally thought to be in their best interest. However, modification can be granted in certain circumstances. If one parent requests a change in custody, he or she must prove three key things. First, the parent must prove a material change in circumstances has occurred since the court’s original custody decision. Second, the parent must prove the material change has or will adversely affect the child. If a parent successfully proves these two elements, a court will lastly reweigh the Albright factors (the factors it used in determining initial custody) to determine if modifying custody is in the child’s best interest.

Modification of Visitation in Mississippi

A Chancellor will modify a visitation order if the parent making the request shows the visitation order is not working and it would be in the child’s best interest to modify the order. Unlike in modifications of custody and child support, the parent does not have to prove a material change in circumstances. Common events warranting a modification of visitation includes anything making the order unworkable—such as one parent moving hours away, a new work schedule or the custodial parent interfering with the non-custodial parent’s time spent with the child. A Chancellor will not, however, change visitation just because one parent is unsatisfied with the original order. The key to modify visitation in Mississippi is a showing the original order is no longer working.

Modification of Alimony in Mississippi

When and how alimony may be modified depends on the particular type of alimony awarded by the Chancellor. Permanent alimony is modifiable at the Chancellor’s discretion. Rehabilitative alimony is also modifiable; however, its modification is typically a conversion from rehabilitative alimony into permanent alimony if the requesting party shows a material change in his or her circumstances. Lump sum alimony, on the other hand, cannot be modified unless the two parties agree to the modification. Likewise, reimbursement alimony is non-modifiable as well. In general, a Chancellor will modify an award of alimony if it is the type that is modifiable, a material change in circumstances has occurred that was not foreseeable, and that material change has affected the disparity between the parties’ financial conditions.

We Can Help You

What followed was just the tip of the legal iceberg concerning post-divorce modification. Here is the way this works. Call our office (601-898-8655) or confidentially submit a basic intake form so our staff can complete a standard conflict check. That’s when we make sure nothing on this end will stand in the way of us being helpful. Then, we will schedule a time for you to talk to one or more of our attorneys to go over your situation.

FAQs

What are my options if my former spouse is not following the terms of our divorce agreement?

If your former spouse is not following the terms of your divorce agreement, it is possible that you could sue them for contempt. Refusing to abide by a divorce agreement is often a direct violation of a court order. However, contempt actions should be reserved for situations in which one of the parties is continually refusing to follow the divorce agreement.

When my child turns 12, can she choose where she wants to live?

There is a misconception among Mississippians that a child may choose the parent with whom he or she wishes to live upon reaching the age of twelve. This is simply not the case. There must be a showing of material changes in circumstances since the last Order which have had an adverse affect on the child and that their best interest, coupled with the parental selection. While our law on this topic is well settled, many chancellors believe that if a child has made a choice, it should be honored. This is not the law.

Resources related to Fault-Based Divorce

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