After the divorce has been finalized, there are two reasons that a client might come back to my office. It’s critical to note here that after the court rules or you have entered into an agreement, whether it’s a final separation order or a final decree of divorce, the distribution of your assets, the issues of alimony, and anything that has to do with property and debt, generally, are final and cannot be reviewed again. Clients will often come back, however, for a modification of anything that has to do with minor children, including custody, visitation, and child support, which the court does allow to be modified if the party or parent can show a substantial and material change of circumstances.
These changes in circumstances must affect the welfare of the minor child(ren), and must be both substantial and material. So if something happens in the child’s life or something’s happened in the parent’s life that warrants the change, then you can come back and petition the court to make those changes. Some common examples of a change in circumstances would be if one of the parents lost their job or became disabled to the point that they lose their ability to make the money they were earning before and cannot make child support payments. Another change of circumstance might be that one parent gets custody of the children after a divorce or after a custody order, and things go wrong for that parent, such as getting in trouble with the law or involved with drugs, or other things that negatively affects the welfare of the child. The other parent can then petition the court to modify the custody agreement if it is in the best interests of the child. Any time that those changes come in front of the court, the best interest of the child will be the ruling factor for the court.
Changing Court Orders
Another matter that clients might come back to my office about for would be to seek an order for contempt or enforcement of a court order. These types of situations occur when a parent or a spouse fails to perform certain orders or stipulations in their custody agreement or divorce decree, regarding their children or spouse. These responsibilities can be such as preventing a parent from exercising their visitation time or not turning over a certain piece of property as part of the divorce. If a party suspects that the other parent or spouse is violating a court order that party can petition the court for what we call a Rule to Show Cause, which would require the violating party to come into court and show why they should not be held in contempt for willfully violating the court’s orders.
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