Modifying Tulsa Divorce decree is possible. Several things happen in life that cause force us into modifying Tulsa divorce decree. An example may be that the original decree awarded joint physical custody but its always been one parent that’s had custody. Or there are times when because of changes in your income or former spouses income that make modifying child support a necessity. What ever the reason modifying Tulsa divorce decree is possible so long as you meet certain conditions set out by the Oklahoma Family Courts.
Modifying Child Support and Alimony:
Modifying Tulsa divorce decree or any other Oklahoma final order requires a change of circumstances. When the reduction in income that forms the basis for such a request is the product of a voluntary change in jobs or reduction in hours by the paying party, this change generally will not support a modification. However, a recent Oklahoma Supreme Court decision provides a guideline. It addresses the scenario where an employer provides an employee with the alternative to resign or receive termination. The state’s highest court found that if the party paying alimony under these circumstances quits his or her job this may form the basis for a modification of alimony.
Recent Cases Regarding Modifications:
In the case of Garcia v. Garcia, the parties divorced, and the husband was ordered to pay child support along with alimony for a period of six years. The ex-husband was a high school principle at the time of divorce. The husband moved for modification of his alimony order based on a material change in circumstances. The ex-husband made a request to recalculate his alimony. This was because he was unable to attain employment as resigning as a principle. He testified that he had the choice to resign or be subject to termination by his supervisor. As a result, the ex-husband elected to resign. He presumed it would make it easier to find new employment. Although his resignation letter did not refer to the threat of termination.
Voluntarily Reducing Income Wont Work:
The ex-wife argued that no relief from the amount of alimony was appropriate. Her ex-husband “voluntarily” made a change to his employment and/or made decisions to engage in the conduct leading to the threatening of termination. The trial court and Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals found this argument persuasive and denied the modification. The ex-husband’s misconduct led to his job loss. Thus, the courts reasoned that he was not able to receive to relief from his alimony obligation. The lower courts relied on precedent that voluntary unemployment or underemployment did not provide for a modification in alimony.
Oklahoma Supreme Courts Shifts Focus:
Courts have shifted the focus from whether the actions leading to his dismissal or resignation were voluntary to whether he resigned was a bad faith attempt to evade his support obligations. Because told to choose between termination and resignation, the Oklahoma Supreme Court found that he chose to resign. He was not quitting his job to evade his alimony and/or child support obligations.
Keep in mind that the ex-husband in this case could prove extensive efforts to obtain new employment. He had evidence he submitted 53 applications for employment and 35 resumes in an attempt to secure new employment. If forced to resign from a job, it is important to show you were diligent in seeking new employment.
Modifications of Child Custody:
Like other modifications modifying Tulsa divorce decree as it relates to child custody is also possible. Like other motions to modify there must be a material change of circumstances. The change of circumstances must be material. To be material it needs to be a significant change. A good example of this kind of change exits when the original order assigned joint physical custody. Regardless of the original divorce decree the child has always lived with only one parent. Because the custody order was entered like this the child support was calculated differently. This change is material which make modifying Tulsa divorce decree possible.
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