Modification of Existing Judgments
Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins
Child support awards are always modifiable based upon changes of conditions since the last order was issued.
Spousal supprt awards that are modifiable can also be changed upon the court finding evidence of substantial changes of conditions since the last order was issued. If a spousal support award is specifically "non-modifiable" according to the terms of the court order or agreement, that award can not be changed.
Generally, increases in the income of the payor and increased expenses of the payee can result in an upward modification of a modifiable support order. Similarly, decreased in the income of the payor can result in a downward modification of the support order. In some states, remarriage of a payor or payee can lead to modification when the court considers the income of the new spouse either directly or indirectly.
And, generally speaking, where a custodial parent agrees to receive less than the amount of child support mandated by a state's child support guidelines, that parent can petition the court for an increase in support even where the payor's income has not increased.
Non-Modifiability of Property Settlement Awards
Generally speaking, awards of property settlement, whether in equitable division or community property states, are not modifiable. Dissatisfaction with an award must be appealed.