When a divorce occurs, the parties or the court decide the terms and payments of alimony and child support. Parties can ask a court to modify these terms if need be, for example, if there are changed circumstances. If a child was young at the time alimony and child support responsibilities were decided, that child's attendance to college and financial independence may constitute a changed circumstance that allows the court to change the terms. See the case of T.M. v. R.M. in another blog. However, there's a difference between seeking a modification because of changed circumstances and requesting that the court relitigate the issues because the adults make decisions that change the circumstances of their lives and the convenience of compliance with the court's decision.
When couples divorce, the courts first look to see if the parties have an agreement that lists the terms of their post-marital life. Expenses, childcare, and division of assets can all be addressed in these types of agreements. The courts will give great weight to these agreements, so long as they are enforceable and valid, because they are an expression of the couple's wishes. However, these agreements are made at a certain period of time, usually at the time of the marriage, under circumstances that exist at that time. Circumstances can change though, and the best post-marital agreements address this aspect of life.