Order Modification

New Orleans Order Modification and Enforcement Lawyers

Experienced spousal support, child custody, and child support lawyers in New Orleans

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Often, a spouse or parent will seek to modify a family law order. Many modification requests are for legitimate reasons. Some requests for changes are because an ex just still hasn’t recognized that the relationship is over, because they don’t think agreements and orders matter, or because they just don’t want to cooperate. In Louisiana, the orders the court signs off on cannot be changed unless there are very good reasons that protect you and your children.

At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we understand both sides of modification requests. We represent spouses and parents seeking to modify an existing spousal support, custody order, or child support order if there has been a significant change in circumstances. We also represent spouses who object to modifications. Our New Orleans family lawyers also work to ensure orders are enforced when an ex-spouse or parent isn’t paying funds that are overdue or isn’t complying with a custody order.

What are the grounds for modifying a Louisiana spousal support order?

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A spouse can be ordered to pay interim spousal support while the divorce is pending, or final periodic spousal support after the divorce decree is entered. Interim orders are granted to ensure that the spouse whose finances are stronger doesn’t force an unfair settlement because the other spouse needs money now just to pay the bills. Final orders of spousal support are entered when a spouse is unable to earn a comparable living because she/he made sacrifices to help the more financially secure spouse, to help raise the children, because of misconduct by the more financially successful spouse, or for other reasons.

Most requests for modification of spousal support orders involve the final periodic orders. Either spouse can request a modification of the spousal support – if there is a significant change in circumstances. Common reasons for requesting a modification include:

  • A change in the income-earning ability of the payor spouse
  • A change in the health of the payor spouse
  • A change in the income-earning ability of the payee spouse
  • A change in the financial obligations of either spouse

Generally, if the payor spouse remarries or has children through the new marriage or another relationship, it is not a ground for modifying the spousal support order.

If the spouse who is being paid support remarries, lives with another person “in the manner of married persons,” or dies, the payor spouse can request that the spousal support order be terminated.

What are the grounds for modifying a child custody order in New Orleans?

In Louisiana, a parent can have sole custody, joint custody, or shared custody. A parent who does not have sole custody may have visitation rights. Custody orders are obtained either by agreement, through mediation, or by the decision of a family law Judge. Once there is an order, it is final for the rest of the minor’s life unless a parent seeks and obtains a modification of the order.

The parents can agree on their own to the modification. Often, a family law Judge determines whether the modification request should be granted. Generally, modifications are only granted if there is a significant change in circumstances. Our experienced New Orleans order modification lawyers are skilled at negotiating child custody agreements that anticipate many of the likely changes and problems that may occur during the child’s minority – including how disputes should be resolved.

Either parent can request a child custody order modification. Some of the reasons for a modification request include:

  • The child starts attending school
  • The preferences of an older child
  • The work schedules of either parent
  • A parent is not complying with the existing order
  • A spouse is living with a partner who may harm the child
  • The health of a parent or child changes – including substance abuse problems

If a parent wants to relocate, then there are special procedures for a domiciliary parent who wants to relocate. The non-custodial parent has the right to object to the relocation.

What are the grounds for modifying a Louisiana child support order?

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Family courts in Louisiana prioritize children. Both spouses have a duty to support their children. The support should be as close as possible to the lifestyle of the children before the divorce. Most child support orders are rather formulaic – based on the incomes of the parents, which parent has primary domiciliary custody, and any expense needs of the children, such as for their health or education.

According to the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services, a modification can only be requested:

  • If the current order is more than three years old
  • The new support order would, according to the child support guidelines, be at least 25% different than the current order
  • There is a material and substantial change in circumstances

Either spouse can request a change in a child support order if there is a significant change in circumstances. Per the Louisiana DCFS, these changes include:

  • A change in the income of either spouse
  • The child’s medical insurance coverage has changed
  • The child is living with a different parent

How can I force my ex-spouse or co-parent to comply with family law orders in New Orleans?

Generally, if the obligor spouse or parent is not paying the spousal support or child support due, the other spouse/parent has the right to seek enforcement through the family court. Our New Orleans modification and enforcement lawyers will file a formal request with the family court to order the arrears be paid immediately, and that the continuing payments be made in a timely manner.

The family law Judge will listen to determine if there is a good reason for the nonpayment such as a health emergency. The Judge will normally set a time for payment of the arrears and order that the remaining payments be made on time. The Judge could also order that the spouse/parent be imprisoned until the arrears are paid.

If a parent is not complying with a child custody order, the other parent can seek enforcement of the order. A Judge could change the custody order to accommodate the wishes of the parent who is in compliance.

Do you have a family order modification and enforcement lawyer near me?

The Law Office of James A. Graham is located in New Orleans and serves all of South Louisiana.

For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.

Speak with our skilled New Orleans modification and enforcement lawyers today

We understand all the work that goes into obtaining family law orders for spouses, parents, and children. At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we understand when requests for modifications of support orders and changes to custody orders are legitimate – and when requests have little or no merit. We’ll fight to protect you and your children. To discuss any family law modifications to orders and enforcement of orders, please call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with a family lawyer in New Orleans.