Changing Your Divorce Decree – An Informal Agreement Is Not Enough!
Many of life’s twists and turns can result in the need for a change to your divorce decree. Here’s what you need to know.
After a divorce, family situations can change: the children get older, jobs change, a former spouse relocates, or you or your ex-spouse remarries. Many of life’s twists and turns can result in the need for a change to your divorce decree.
Your Divorce Decree: Why an Informal Agreement Isn’t Enough
Often the parties reach a mutual agreement on revising the terms of the divorce. For example, if one parent moves, the parents may agree to change their visitation arrangement. If there is an income change, the parents may agree to modify child support or other monetary obligations. In many situations, the former spouses reach a verbal agreement or even write up an agreement, but many fail to have their divorce decree changed by the Court. Saving a few dollars on an attorney now can result in expensive consequences later.
We often have clients come to us after problems arise with their informal agreement. A typical situation occurs when a non-custodial parent loses a job. The custodial parent agrees to accept less (or no) child support for a period of time. Later on a dispute between the parents results in the custodial parent demanding the “back” child support due under the divorce decree. Since the divorce decree was never modified by the Court to reflect the informal agreement, the non-custodial parent can be ordered to pay the “back” support.
How can this be avoided? The former spouses can have an attorney draw up a document reflecting the change, file the appropriate Motion with the Court, and have a Judge approve the change. The modified divorce agreement then becomes the new, enforceable agreement.
There are numerous situation that may warrant a modification of a divorce decree. Our firm is well versed in this area and our attorneys are happy to assist you. If you would like to discuss any issues regarding a modification or other family law issue, please contact us. We are here to help solve your problems.
Read the complete March 2012 Newsletter from Spooner & Associates, PC
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