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Modifying an order for divorce in Virginia courts

Many Virginia residents who have endured the stress and anxiety of a divorce believe that the process is over when the court signs and enters the final order. Unfortunately, for some, life does not always proceed as they expect, and unanticipated events can often create a need to modify the court’s final order for custody or support. Can such modifications be accomplished? If so, how?

The answer is both simple and complex. Either party to the divorce can bring a motion before the court at any time seeking modification of the order as it affects child support and custody of the children, or spousal support. The motion must state the reasons for seeking such relief and specify the nature of the relief that is being requested. Common examples of reasons for seeking to amend an order affecting the custody or support of the children are: unexpected health changes for a child or the custodial parent; loss of a job; a significant increase in the income of the ex-spouse who is paying child support; or one spouse relocates for a new job.

The original order for support may not be retroactively changed, but the court can make any alterations that take effect after the motion has been filed. The court can limit or modify visitation rights of the non-custodial parent, increase or lower the amount of child or spousal support or make such other changes as may be necessary to protect the best interests of the child.

Anyone who is laboring under an order for child visitation or spousal or child support that they believe is unfair under their present circumstances may want to get more information about the type of motion that can be made and the likelihood of obtaining significant relief from the court.

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