A temporary order is modified by a properly noticed motion and a judgment is modified by a complaint for modification. Not all judgments can be modified – the judgment must permit the modification of the judgment. Most notably, property division is final at the time of divorce and cannot be modified.
Modifications arise for many reasons – the children are older and a new parenting plan is necessary, one or both parties’ income(s) have changed, or there are other new circumstances. The standard to modify an order or judgment is a “material and substantial change in the circumstances.” If the modification is solely about child support, the standard becomes “whether the application of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines results in an inconsistency with the existing order.”
A modification is filed, oftentimes along with a motion for temporary orders, to request the change warranted by the circumstances. Keep in mind when filing a modification that the opposing party will also have the opportunity to respond to your modification and may counterclaim for additional changes. Discuss all of the facts of your case with an experienced family law attorney before you walk yourself down a path you really did not want to go down.