Whether reached through litigation or out-of-court settlement, pretty much every divorce case is finalized through a court order. A divorce decree is a legally-binding document that outlines how marital property is divided, who gets custody of the kids and who gets visitation rights, how spousal support is paid and several other things.
While a divorce decree is enforceable by the court, meaning that you can be held in contempt for non-compliance, the divorce court also understands that circumstances can change, and either party has the right to seek modifications to the existing arrangement. New laws and regulations may also prompt a review and modification of the divorce settlement.
Here are the components of the divorce decree that can be subjects of modification.
Known as time-sharing, changes in circumstances may call for a review and modification of the existing parenting plan. Sometimes, a parent’s addiction, abusive behavior or violation of an existing custody decree may call for a review and modification of the current parenting plan. To make any of these modifications, the aggrieved parent must provide proof of substantial change and justify how the modification will serve the child’s best interest.
Child support and alimony
Child support adjustments are a common cause for modification of the divorce decree. A change in income or an attempt to cheat on income disclosure can justify a review of the original plan.
Change in circumstances can also prompt the court to review and modify alimony payments. For instance, if the recipient of alimony remarries or cohabits with another person in a romantic relationship, the paying party can petition the court to halt spousal support payments. Change in income can also call for the modification of the alimony arrangement.
A finalized divorce sets both parties free to turn over a new page in life. However, if former spouses have ongoing obligations to each other or the children, a divorce settlement is not always cast in stone – it can be modified.