A Few Legal Issues You May Encounter After Divorce
It’s a common misconception that all divorce-related issues will end when a divorce is finalized. While it’s true that the parties can generally start moving on with their lives, will likely live in different residences, and have separate finances, there are still a lot of legal matters that may end up needing to be addressed, like post-divorce modification and enforcement.
When a divorce is finalized, the court issues a final divorce decree that outlines the party’s property settlement agreement, as well as any alimony, child support, and custody arrangements. These orders are considered binding, which means that the parties can face legal repercussions if they fail to abide by their terms. This does not mean, however, that the terms of that divorce are set in stone, as it is still possible to modify certain aspects of a decree, such as:
- Child support awards;
- Alimony payments; and
- Child custody arrangements.
These changes could be spurred by a number of different things, including a change in income or job status, relocation to a new city or state, or a change in a child’s education or medical needs.
A Substantial Change in Circumstances
Before a divorced party can seek a post-divorce modification, he or she will need to demonstrate that the modification is warranted by an unanticipated and substantial change in circumstances. A court will only approve a change if this standard is met. Unfortunately, what qualifies as a substantial change in circumstances isn’t clearly defined. However, courts have been willing to grant modifications in situations where a party lost his or her job, experienced a significant reduction in income, moved out of the state, remarried, or took on more childcare responsibilities. For help determining whether your own situation has changed enough to justify a post-divorce modification attempt, please reach out to our legal team today.
Effective Date of Modifications
Once a post-divorce modification has been approved by the court, it goes into effect immediately, unless the judge rules otherwise. It is possible, for instance, for a modification to go into effect retroactively to the date that the request petition was filed. This is common in cases that involve child support, where a parent is seeking overdue payments.
Enforcement of Divorce Rulings
Besides seeking a modification, divorced parties could find themselves needing to enforce the original court order itself. This can be done through the court system and usually involves filing a motion for contempt. If approved, this in turn could lead to additional court orders, heavy fines, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time.
Call Cairns Law Today for Help
Just because a divorce is finalized does not mean that the parties involved will always be free of grappling with additional divorce-related legal matters. If you need help with such an issue, like modification or enforcement, feel free to call the experienced Clearwater modification and enforcement of final judgments lawyers at Cairns Law for assistance. Call us at 727-683-1472 or fill out an online contact form to set up an initial consultation.