When an ex-spouse wishes to change certain conditions pertaining to their divorce decree, that is referred to as post-divorce actions or modifications. There are a variety of reasons that can affect a divorce decree after it has been finalized and at J Hardy Family Law, we help our clients know their options.
Ex-spouses may request to modify their divorce agreement based on the circumstances that changed after the entry of the agreement. For example, if a divorce decree resulted in one spouse paying more to the other due to his/her needs for income and then the receiving spouse suddenly wins the lottery, the spouse obligated to pay a higher support may request a modification to the agreement and request to pay less or terminate his/her obligation to pay support to the other. The time is ripe to file a modification is when the financial needs or income of either spouse has materially changed since the entry of the order establishing support.
Judges will look at the length of time that has passed since the divorce agreement was filed and the circumstances when deciding to modify a divorce decree. For example, if an ex-spouse petitions for a change in their agreement and the agreement was entered 3 months ago, the judge may deny the request for alterations because of the short window of time since the agreement was entered.
When deciding to modify a divorce agreement or order, there are a few guidelines and criteria that must be met. The ex-spouse requesting the change must file a petition to modify the decree. When filing a petition, the ex-spouse is requesting to change or alter certain aspects of the agreement/order. This petition is normally done by one ex-spouse requesting the changes to be made, after pleading a change of circumstances since the entry of the decree/agreement. However, ex-spouses may file an amended settlement/consent order and file it jointly with the court when both former spouses have changes, they mutually would like made to their agreement. If the ex-spouses don’t agree to the changes or modifications, one ex-spouse must file a petition to change or alter the agreement/order, while the other spouse hires a lawyer and responds, then the judge may have to be convinced in order to grant any amendments.
Circumstances change, and because of that, so can your divorce agreement. For help modifying a divorce agreement or order, the team at J Hardy Family Law can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our firm.