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Modification of orders

At the Law Offices of John S. Cowhig, we advocate for both men and women, in equal number, and skillfully educate, negotiate, mediate, or litigate to protect the interests of our clients.

order modifications

Typically, court orders regarding custody, visitation, child support and spousal support are subject to later modification. Courts realize that, when circumstances change, court orders based on the old circumstances may need to be changed.

A change in circumstances can commonly occur when a party loses or change his/her job and has a corresponding drop (or increase) in income. In such a circumstance, the income on which the original support order was based may be either significantly higher or significantly lower than a party’s now current income. Similarly, children get older and a parent’s timeshare with that child might change or a parent finds himself or herself in a situation where a move is necessary. In both cases, there can be a resulting significant change in a parent’s timeshare with the child.

As a result of such change in circumstances, courts have the ability to modify existing court orders. However, they cannot modify these orders retroactively. They can only do so starting from the time the request for a change is filed with the court and/or served on the other party.

Often, parties discuss the need to change an existing order and believe they have reached a verbal agreement. This often happens when the paying party loses his or her job and the other party verbally agrees to some temporary reduction for a set time or until the paying party obtains new employment to avoid the time and cost of filing a new court order. As a result, they do not reduce their agreement to writing, or file a new stipulated court ordering modifying the one in existence at the time. Because verbal agreements are difficult to prove and even written modifications of support that are not made into new orders may not be enforced by the court, the result can be that years later the paying party ends up owing the other a substantial amount of money in back support, which the court has no ability to retroactively modify.

Court orders remain in effect, and both parties are obligated to follow them, until they are modified by a subsequent court order or a written agreement signed by the parties. The fact that neither party is demanding compliance with an existing support order, for example, does not mean that the order is not in effect or that it cannot be enforced.

Further, there is no time limit to the enforcement of a child or spousal support order. Consequently, the party owed support can seek enforcement of a child support order many years after the child turns age of majority.

At The Law Offices of John S. Cowhig, we handle divorce and family law cases throughout Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Orange County, CA.

No matter the specific issue you face, you will need an attorney on your side to safeguard your interests and your future by providing a custom solution for your case.  We are prepared to help our clients with compassionate and supportive guidance when it is needed most.  However complicated your case may seem, our skilled attorneys and winning strategies can help.

In addition to our proficiency in handling a vast variety of cases, our lawyers are adept at aggressively litigating cases and at negotiating.  We aim to make each case as easy and pleasant for the parties involved as possible.  We constantly update clients on the state of their case and provide our full support and attention.  No matter what our clients’ goals are, we take their hopes to heart, fighting relentlessly to protect their interests and achieve the best outcomes.

More practice areas

Paternity actions


Spousal Support


Property Division


Contact US

We take your family law matters very seriously.

Below, we’ve provided a number of ways for you to contact our professional staff:


Law Offices of John S. Cowhig,

19600 Fairchild Road, Suite 295

Irvine, California, 92612


 (949) 333-0580 




8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

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The Law Offices of John S. Cowhig is found within Irvine’s beautiful Main Plaza, located just right off of the 405 & 55 Freeway.