Change Of Circumstances Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Change Of Circumstances, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Change Of Circumstances?

(n) Change of circumstances is the situation when the parameters used to arrive at an opinion or decision is changed warranting a suitable change in the earlier decision like amendment of existing alimony or child support order etc. Eg. Re-marriage of spouse is a change in circumstances to stop the alimony.

History and Meaning of Change Of Circumstances

A change of circumstances is a legal term used in family law to describe a change that affects a court-ordered decree. Situations such as remarriage, loss of employment, or relocation are common events that can justify a change of circumstances. Family courts will consider specific factors to determine if the change warrants a modification of an existing order.

The purpose of a change of circumstances provision is to ensure that court decrees continue to reflect the needs of children and spouses over time. The primary focus is to protect the interests of children and to provide financial stability and security to the former spouse that receives alimony. The party requesting a modification has the burden of showing how circumstances have changed, so the court will take legal action.

Examples of Change Of Circumstances

  1. A father's income has decreased, and he can no longer afford his child support payments.
  2. The custodial parent has relocated, making it challenging for the non-custodial parent to exercise parenting time.
  3. The child’s expenses have increased.
  4. A spouse receiving alimony has remarried.
  5. The child custody and support order were based on false information provided by one of the parties.

Legal Terms Similar to Change Of Circumstances

  1. Child Support Modification- A request to modify an existing order concerning child support.
  2. Alimony Modification - A request to modify the amount of spousal support currently being paid.
  3. Custody Modification - A request to modify a court order for custody or parenting-time.