Post-Judgment Modifications for California Divorced Couples

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce cases can be complex and sometimes a divorce case may not be over after the final judgment is filed. Things like child custody, child support, alimony can be subject to change anytime and can have major effects on the lives of both individuals.

Child custody and visitation are easily modified after the final custody judgment and the parent seeking modification can do so after providing a substantial amount of proof to the court. The proof must indicate a significant amount of change since the final order was passed.

What kind of judgments can be modified?

The judgment of dissolution of marriage covers important factors like alimony, child custody, visitation, child support and property division. All these factors are prone to modification but some can more easily be done than others. For example, a parent who wants to change the visitation arrangements can easily do so without showing substantial evidence. However, for issues like child custody, the court is likely to ask for more proof.

Child support modification

Child support depends on a parent’s income and income can change anytime regardless of what situation an individual might be in. Now, a change in income might not necessarily require a change in child support. In cases where one parent has lost a job and is completely broke, the court might pass an order that allows the other parent to cover child support expenses for a certain period. California courts usually don’t like modifications in child support but if the case is serious, changes can be made.

Alimony modification

Many expect that alimony, once settled upon, cannot be modified. However, it can be. In fact, most alimony awards can be modified. However, alimony modifications are not easy or straightforward because the application that sets alimony does not calculate post-judgment alimony modifications. The court needs to look into section 4320 of the Family Code and the 13 factors present in it before alimony modifications can be made.

Modification of property and asset division

Property divisions are uncommon since couples that decide to divide property do so after agreeing to the split. However, certain circumstances can make individuals change their mind and they can opt for modification in property division judgment. Property divisions can be complex and should be dealt by experienced family lawyers.

Many factors that were included in the final judgment can be changed depending on the circumstances faced by divorced couples. Some of the post-judgment modifications are easy while others are not and require a substantial amount of proof.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, click this link to visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Post-Judgment Modifications of California Family Law Orders

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsIt usually means the end of visiting the court and interacting with lawyers once a divorce has been finalized. But if the divorced couple has children, it does not mean an end to an emotionally ugly divorce case. It is because after a divorce has been granted, the divorced parents will have to deal with the issues of child support, custody and alimony.

A number of rulings from the divorce can be modified post-judgment. Some of these have been discussed here.

Child custody and visitation

Any parent can seek a modification to the final custody ruling. But you will have to prove to the court any significant change in circumstances that may have happened since the judgment. Also, you need to show that the newly proposed order will be in the best interests of the child. If a parent misses visitations but makes up for it later, you cannot ask for modification in custody.

If you want a modification of the custody and visitation rights, you have to make a showing of a “substantial change of circumstances” since the judgment was entered.  Also, a parent who feels that the other parent is not spending sufficient time with the child or is causing physical and emotional abuse can request for post judgment modifications.

Child support

You can also modify child support after a judgment. It can be done at any time if there is a change in the incomes (increase or decrease) of both the parents. But you, the parent, should be able to determine if the change in your income is permanent or not. Also, a slight change in income should not be a reason for seeking post judgment modification. Your request will not be entertained if the judges feel the change in income is not significant.


If the divorce ruling was agreed upon by the spouses, then a modification of alimony post judgment is not possible. The amount of alimony awarded, though, can be modified. But it is not a very straightforward or simple process. The Court considers the 13 factors stated in the Family Code section 4320 and other related aspects to reach a decision.

Always consult with experienced divorce lawyers in California before requesting for post-judgment modifications or defending such requests. They will help you to plan a strong strategy and approach the court with a solid case.

To learn more about the divorce and post-divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation