What Does CA Consider a Significant Change in Circumstances After Divorce?

Every divorce should be finalized in a way that doesn’t put anyone through undue hardships. The whole idea of equitable property division and parental rights is that everyone is treated well and fairly. But sometimes what works during and immediately after the divorce will not be what works later, after years have passed and your life has changed.

The court allows modifications of certain orders if it means making someone’s life easier without making anyone else’s more difficult. Modifications will not be made on a whim or without serious consideration, though. In order for the court to approve of your modification, or even hear your argument in the first place, you will need to show that a “significant change in circumstances” has occurred.

California considers a significant change in circumstances to be:

  • Unexpected job loss
  • Serious illness or injury that causes debilitation
  • Significant income increase for one parent
  • New needs and expenses for the child, especially health or medical related
  • Relocations of either parent

Paying alimony may no longer be possible without risking yourself going into debt. Taking custody of your children may a travel nightmare if you are relocating to an adjacent city. Or raising your kids comfortably may be a challenge if you have lost your main source of income. All of these common scenarios can be accepted as a significant change in circumstances.

Convince the Court & Your Ex

You will clearly know when you are being put under undue hardships due to divorce orders. But showing the troubles caused to the court and your ex-spouse may be an uphill battle. Gathering any proof you can to show that you could not have prepared for the changes will be necessary. Medical records are useful for injuries, email correspondences can prove invaluable if you had to move to keep your job, and so on.

Perhaps more important than anything else, preparing to request a modification of your divorce’s agreements should be done with the help of a professional divorce attorney. At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, our Riverside County family lawyers can assist you with the first step of requesting a modification right to the last, concluding step of your case. Call 951.687.6003 today and we can schedule a free initial consultation with you.


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