Whether you and your ex-spouse were able to agree to the terms of your divorce or let a judge decide, you now have a ruling in place that defines not only your divorce but the terms you and your ex-spouse need to abide by when it comes to the division of marital property, child custody and issues of support.
Those rulings, of course, were based on your situation at the time. As you know, though, life is rarely static. Things change. Can you modify the terms of your divorce agreement when necessary?
Some modifications are possible
Generally speaking, it’s very difficult to reopen issues like the division of assets and debts (although there are exceptions). However, it is true that you can modify many other terms of a divorce, particularly when it comes to issues of custody of the minor children and support.
For instance, if your earnings change significantly, you may need to modify your child support obligations. The court based what you needed to pay on how much you earned at that time. If this figure gets cut in half, are those payments still affordable? If your child’s needs have increased, does that mean a change is in order, even if your earnings are the same? It could.
Another example could be if you get a new job. Maybe you worked part-time before, so your custody plan reflected that. With this new, full-time job, you don’t have the same free time you did before. You may need to modify your custody and visitation schedule to work with your new reality.
Doing post-divorce modifications right
With all modifications, the best advice you can get is to do it the right way and to do it legally. Talk to the court. Explain your case. Get a new order. Do not change anything on your own. For instance, don’t refuse to make support payments or refuse to drop your child off at your ex’s according to the existing schedule. Always follow the court orders until you have official modifications. An attorney can help you learn more.