Even after going through a divorce or custody action and organizing all of the moving parts, life happens and things change.  Luckily, the law recognizes this and allows in certain instances for aspects of your divorce, separation agreement, or custody and support arrangement to be modified or amended to account for recent changes.  Whether you find yourself in need of initiating a modification because you are coping with an outdated provision, child support order, or alimony award, or you have received notice that someone else has initiated a modification proceeding, the experienced attorneys at Bullwinkel & Brooks will be able to help you.

          While many provisions of a divorce or separation agreement, custody arrangement, or support judgment can be modified, the most common situations are as follows:

  • Child Support: By statutory law in Massachusetts, either the recipient of child support, or the payor, may petition the court for a review and modification every three years.  In addition, when one parent’s financial circumstances, or custody arrangements, have changed, either party may seek a review and modification.  If there is a difference of even $1.00 between what the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines provide and what you are paying or receiving, you may seek a modification of the child support order.​


  • Alimony: In some cases, alimony payments must be increased or decreased as a result of a change in one of the parties’ financial status.  In such a case, the law will generally allow that party to seek a modification.  In March 2012, Massachusetts enacted the Alimony Reform Act, which has had significant impacts on existing alimony awards.

  • Child Custody: Sometimes the custody arrangement between two parents is no longer in the best interest of the children and must be modified.  For example, the custodial parent may become ill and be unable to care for the children, or a work schedule may change that would make the current visitation schedule impossible to follow.​

          It is especially important to address and consider a modification in the case your children have ceased to live with you or have come to live with you and as a result child support needs to be modified.  Failure to pay child support, even if your children are now living with you, is a felony and carries with it serious penalties. 

          If you would like to discuss your present circumstances, learn what your rights would be in case you decide to seek a modification, or if you are seeking representation in defense of a modification action that has already been initiated, please call or email us and arrange for a free consultation with one of our domestic relations attorneys.