Monmouth County Post-Divorce Disputes Lawyer
A judgment of divorce or marital settlement agreement contains legally binding conditions that govern how you interact with your former spouse going forward. Lives change over time, and people’s needs change with them. When a spouse stops adhering to the terms of your divorce decree, or if changed circumstances require a modification, you have legal remedies available to you. These disputes are technically referred to as post-judgment cases.
Speak with a Monmouth County post-divorce disputes lawyer if the legal conditions governing your divorce are no longer working. A divorce attorney at Moskowitz Law Group can help you enforce or modify these conditions.
Issues That Often Arise Post-Divorce
Life changes may warrant changes in a judgment of divorce or settlement agreement. As children grow, their schedules become more complicated, and a shared custody schedule might need to be revisited. A spouse might lose a job, requiring adjustments to child support or alimony. A parent might need to relocate for a new job or relationship and want to bring the children with them. These are only a few of the reasons why the terms of your divorce may need to be modified.
Sometimes, one spouse’s bitterness over the divorce lingers, and they act out by not complying with the terms governing the divorce. Consistently late support payments or failure to adhere to a parenting time schedule are behaviors that can prevent the couple from moving on or continuing with their lives.
If the judgment or agreement is not working because of changes in one or both parties’ circumstances, the law allows the couple to modify their agreement if certain legal requirements are met. If one spouse is willfully noncompliant, the other spouse could ask a judge to hold them in violation of litigant’s rights, or even in contempt. A Monmouth County post-divorce disputes attorney can offer tailored guidance on the appropriate course of action for handling a particular post-divorce dispute.
Consent Agreements Are Advisable When Possible
The law allows former spouses to modify their agreements by consent. That means that the couple makes the changes they want in writing and each spouse signs an agreement to be set forth in a court order. A couple can negotiate the changes themselves or use a mediator to arrive at a workable solution to their post-divorce dispute; but in either case, a Monmouth County family lawyer should review the couple’s proposed modification before submitting it to the court.
Even when both former spouses agree to a modification, it is usually not effective until a court adopts it and issues it as an enforceable court order. This kind of order containing the agreement is called a consent order. The couple must submit the proposed consent order to the court that issued their original judgment of divorce. The judge will review the proposed modification and, if it pertains to the children, will consider whether it is in the children’s best interests. Sometimes, a court schedules a hearing before approving a modification by consent. The overwhelming majority of consent orders involving children are approved by the Court because it is presumed that the parties are in the best position to decide what is in the best interests of their children. It is very rare, but not unheard of, for the Court to reject a consent order by determining it is not in the children’s best interests.
The parties must continue to obey the original judgment or agreement until they receive a copy of the consent order that has been signed by the judge, unless the parties agree that the agreement goes into effect immediately upon them signing it. This practice is increasingly common due to a backlog in the courts. Failing to adhere to the original order while the modification is pending could subject a party to penalties and enforcement action. This situation often arises when someone seeks modification of a child support or alimony obligation—the paying spouse must continue to pay per the original order until the modification is finalized.
Seeking Judicial Intervention to Modify or Enforce a Divorce Order
When one party wants to modify the terms of a divorce order and the other does not consent, or one party consistently defies an existing order or agreement, turning to the courts may be necessary. A Monmouth County post-divorce disputes attorney can help a former spouse pursue or defend against a court action to modify existing orders or agreements.
If the couple cannot agree on a modification of custody or parenting time by consent, the court will hear a former spouse’s request for a modification. The spouse requesting the change must prove they experienced a substantial and permanent change in circumstances to justify the modification. Examples of such changed circumstances include a diagnosis of a debilitating health condition, active substance abuse, abuse or neglect of a child, changes in job responsibilities, or a child’s mental health issues.
If the modification involves child support or alimony obligations, the ex-spouse who wants the modification (usually the paying party) must show a substantial, permanent, and involuntary change in their financial circumstances for the worse.
When the modification involves child support, parenting time, or other issues concerning children, the court’s primary concern is whether the proposed modifications serve the children’s best interests. The party requesting the change should also be prepared to demonstrate how their children would benefit from the change or be harmed if the modification does not happen.
If a party consistently violates one of the court’s orders or a voluntary agreement and negotiation has not been fruitful, the other party could apply to the court to enforce the original order or agreement. The application must be specific about the violations and what the filing party wants to resolve the violation.
Talk To a Monmouth County Post-Divorce Disputes Attorney
There could be many reasons why the orders a judge issued of the agreement you signed when you got divorced may no longer be working for you. Whether you need to change an order or enforce one, the law offers you an opportunity to accomplish your goal with the help of a trained legal professional to meet the necessary legal requirements.
Consult a Monmouth County post-divorce disputes lawyer about problems with your current divorce judgment or agreement. Reach out to Moskowitz Law Group now.