The entry of the final judgment and decree in a Nebraska divorce is usually interpreted by the parties as the end of the struggle. All issues have been decided, and the parties and their children will now live their lives according to the court’s order. But life is never so simple – unanticipated events such as a sudden illness or loss of a job can substantially affect the assumptions that helped shape orders for alimony, child support and child custody. When such an event occurs, the parties often wonder if the previous order for, say, child support can be modified to reflect the changed circumstances. The answer is a qualified “yes.”
Asking the court for a modification
Nebraska provides two methods for a person to request a modification of a previous order for child support. The party making the request can use the court’s on-line forms to submit the request directly to the court, or the party making the request can retain an attorney to bring a motion before the court seeking the same relief. Regardless of which method is chosen the party making the request for modification bears the burden of demonstrating a significant change in circumstances that affects the party’s life style or the ability to provide for the child.
The most common reason for requesting a modification of the child support order is a significant change in the financial situation of one of the ex-spouses. Usually, the loss of a job or a significant reduction in the income of the party obligated to pay support will generate the motion. Conversely, a significant increase in the income of the person obligated to pay support or a reduction of the income of the party entitled to receive support can likewise trigger a motion for modification.
The party bringing the motion, regardless of the nature of the requested change, bears the burden of demonstrating the existence of significantly changed circumstances. This evidence usually consists of income records, expenses record, and similar financial information.
Should I use an attorney to bring the motion?
The answer here is an unqualified “yes.” An experienced divorce lawyer will know how to gather and present convincing evidence. If the motion is decided adversely, a knowledgeable attorney can assist in making the decision of whether to appeal the outcome.