Having the provisions of a divorce agreement modified under Massachusetts law is possible, based on how the separation agreement was written and the circumstances bringing about the request for a modification. Before bringing your modification request to the court, you need to consult with an experienced divorce attorney.
The first thing to realize is that there must be a material change in circumstances to request a modification, such as an employment change, a significant change of residence, or change in income. These changes can affect custody agreements and spousal and child support.
When drafting a separation agreement, there are two types of provisions addressed in the agreement: surviving and merging. Merging provisions are open to modification. Merging provisions are generally child specific issues like custody arrangements, support, and health insurance. Sometimes alimony can be a merging provision. Surviving provisions are generally not open to modification. An example of surviving provision is the division of property.
It is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney about the possibility of modifying an agreement or judgment before you spend time in court. A family law attorney can help you through the maze that you will encounter and help you with making the best decisions, based on what the law says in your particular situation. The attorney can also give you an idea of the likelihood of success.
Once you file a complaint for modification of the agreement, you should realize that it is just the first step and that there may be several other things to consider. The court may require documentation and financial records to support the request and may even issue temporary orders until the matter is resolved. Again, the family law attorney is the person to rely on to help you through this process.
If you have questions or may be considering a modification to your divorce agreement, please contact our North Andover law office to discuss your matter with an experienced family law attorney.