Finally, the case is settled and property, asset, child support, alimony, custody have reached a final decision. If you think you can move on to a new stage in your life from now on, you might have to think again. It is possible for your ex-spouse to take you back to court for modifications on spousal and child support, custody, and visitation.
Courts usually would not reconsider the original property or debt division but any other issues are fair game. When you or your ex-spouse can show a substantial enough change in your life to justify a modification, then, it can be modified in court.
If the former spouses agree to modify terms of the original decree, the agreement must be in writing and submitted to the court. A hearing is held if necessary to ensure that both parties agree to the modified terms as stated in the agreement. Often, courts will encourage spouses to agree on the terms of the modification, as this will help save time and money for both the court and the former spouses. If an agreement could not be made, the court would have to make a decision and neither spouse may like the final decision.
Motion for Modification
If only one of the former spouses wants a modification but the other does not, a motion for modification would have to be filed. It has to be filed to with the court that issued the original decree.
Response and Hearing
After the motion is served, the other spouse would have some time to file a response, then a hearing is held. If you are the person who wants a modification, you must provide the evidence that your life has changed so much to warrant the modification. If the modification involves custody, child support, visitation, you must also provide proof why it is in the best interests of the children.
Substantial Change in Circumstance
The most accepted ground for modifying a final divorce decree is a major change in circumstances. For example, if your ex-spouse who was paying you spousal or child support and he or she got a significant raise, it might be the time to recalculate the support amount.
Enforcement of Original Decree
Another modification that you can file for is enforcement of the original decree. If your ex-spouse fails to comply with the original decree, it is possible to seek enforcement. Failure to follow the decree after the enforcement can result in criminal charges or jail time.
In the case of failure to pay child support, the state might take the non-paying spouse back to court rather than the paying spouse. This is for the purpose of obtaining wage garnishment of the monthly ordered amount.
Contact Divorce, Modification Attorney, Andrew H.P. Norton in West Bridgewater Today
If you are involved in a modification, contact professional and experienced divorce Attorney Andrew H.P. Norton today. We are proud to serve Brockton, Easton, Taunton, Plymouth, and other areas in Greater West Bridgewater. Contact us for a free consultation.