A divorce settlement is created to adhere to your life situation at the time the decision on your divorce case was granted. However, life goes on, and circumstances change. It may be inevitable to request amendments to your divorce settlement to adapt to your current conditions. Claiming to modify the divorce settlement is especially true if you have children. This is where a divorce modification lawyer can help you.
When going through a divorce, there are a lot of complex matters involved that need to be straightened out to achieve a fair and justified settlement between the divorcing parties. However, the divorce settlement you have gotten may not be working out anymore with the changes in your and your children’s life that unsurprisingly happened.
What if you lose your job and can’t pay child or spousal support for the time being? What if your children need more financial aid for college? What if your former spouse wants to move to another state with your children? These are just some of the changes that can significantly affect your previous divorce settlement.
Specific divorce modification rules will depend on your jurisdiction. You will need to work with a divorce modification lawyer to guide you on what amendment requests you are eligible to make.
However, in most states’ family law, you can seek to modify for matters concerning visitation, child support, child custody, and spousal support. On the other hand, property and debt division may be out of the question.
As for visitation, child support, and child custody, the court will have to set all rulings until the child is legally emancipated. Either of the former spouses may seek to amend the child support, child custody, and visitation matters provided the child has not reached the age of 18 or has been legally emancipated.
The Court Modifies the Divorce Settlement
Any informal or unofficial changes to your divorce settlement not recognized by the court will not help your situation. Even if you are in good terms with your former spouse, you can’t fully trust them to fulfill their promises – especially if financial matters are involved.
Therefore, you must get the guidance of a divorce modification lawyer as you request the court to modify your divorce decree officially.
The Modification Process
To start the amendment process, your divorce modification lawyer will have to file the petition along with all the necessary documentation to the court. You will need to prove that substantial or significant circumstantial changes bring the request to modify the divorce decree.
If you and your former spouse have a child together who has been legally emancipated, the divorce court will not have any jurisdiction authority over matters concerning the child. Thus, those specific terms in the initial divorce decree can no longer be amended.
On Spousal Support
You can request to modify spousal support terms in your original divorce decree if you are either the recipient of the spousal support or the one paying it.
Keep in mind that the petition to amend it must only be filed while the payment arrangement is still in effect. When the obligation to pay no longer exists or has expired, the court won’t have any authority to amend this matter nor revive it.
Proof of Substantial Change
When it comes to divorce rulings, the judge takes what’s best for both parties in serious consideration. To modify a divorce decree, you and your divorce modification lawyer must work together to prove that there is a considerable change in your circumstances that warrant your request.
These considerable circumstantial changes are reviewed by the presiding judge to see if the modification request has a substantial basis.
When you demonstrate that there are precise adjustments to your circumstances, the judge will give your application a comprehensive review. That’s why it’s vital to have the guidance of a divorce modification lawyer as you go through this complicated process.
Informal Agreements Are Not Legally Binding
When you and your former spouse change anything about visitation, support, or custody matters that were initially laid out by the court, these informal changes are not legally binding.
Thus, it’s essential to abide by all the terms laid out in your divorce decree until they are officially amended by court order.