Congratulations, really, on your effortless, stress-free divorce. No surprises, everything went according to plan. All the loose ends are neatly tied up and you can get on with your life. What? That does not sound like the typical divorce? Of course it isn’t — no divorce is “typical,” and no divorce ends with all the pretty bows tied. Your divorce lawyer can help you, even after the divorce.
Modifications to Orders
Just about every aspect of a divorce can be modified after the divorce decree, with proper procedures and careful legal planning. You may need to modify any of these:
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Child visitation (parenting time)
- Property settlement
Perhaps, for example, you both agreed to sell the marital home, split the proceeds, and use the money for setting up two smaller households for sharing joint custody of the children.
Months pass, and the marital home still has not sold. You both need money for your own places. You can work with your divorce attorney to reach an agreement to find a different path forward.
Perhaps, as another example, you agreed to take full physical custody of two of your three children, but you realize after a few months that you do not like having your children separated. You and your attorney can reach out to your ex-wife and her attorney to find a more suitable arrangement:
- You have full custody of all three children in return for child support from your ex-wife
- You and your ex-wife have joint custody of all three children and neither parent pays the other child support
Modifications require court approval; you and your ex-wife cannot ignore the law that came down through the divorce decree and property settlement agreement simply because you agree to change things. Get everything done legally and protect your rights.
Children Turn into Adults
Your divorce attorney can return to your rescue when dealing with children aging out of divorce. A common problem many years on in a divorced couple’s lives is the sudden realization that college or trade school looms large.
Your ex-wife may want to haul you into court to compel you to pay for Junior’s four years at UVA. You face no legal requirement to do so, but you need legal counsel to fight your fight.
Another issue your divorce attorney can help with is a change to parenting time schedules necessitated by children no long interested in spending summers with Dad at the shore. The seven-year-old loved it; the 17-year-old wants to earn money to cover insurance and gas on her 2017 Chevy Camaro.
While you and your ex-wife could informally agree to child custody changes, you both leave yourselves vulnerable by doing so. Better to get everything in legally appropriate writing.
You signed the divorce papers. You moved into a closet-sized apartment, sold your Ram 1500 and slid into a Focus. You agreed to pay spousal support and child support.
Friday comes around and your boss informs you that your services are no longer needed. You need to find a new job, but in the meanwhile, you need to reduce those support payments. Your best bet? A trip back to your divorce attorney.
Modifications to both spousal support and child support are perfectly legal if you have not actively sought unemployment or underemployment. But the modifications must be handled through the court, not informally.
In the Event of Remarriage
Congratulations on having the courage and self-awareness to re-enter the marriage game. If you remarry, while many of the divorce arrangements stay the same, other aspects may be open to changes:
Your new wife has no legal obligation to support your child, but her additional income “frees up” your income and your ex-wife may want more in child support or push you to provide more money for your child’s higher education expenses.
If either of you remarries in Virginia, Virginia law stipulates that spousal support ends. Your attorney can draft a notice so that both sides formally acknowledge that new reality, no matter which spouse remarries.
Stay in Touch with Your Family Lawyer
Your divorce attorney is constantly keeping abreast of changes to tax law, divorce law, and family law issues. An annual consultation with your divorce attorney could be an inexpensive “insurance policy” against unpleasant surprises at tax season or from your ex-wife.
No divorce attorney’s advice is free, but a half-hour appointment every year could be a bargain if it saves you a lot of headaches and money later. Make a point of staying in touch with your divorce attorney, or at least the same law firm that handled your case, even if years have passed. You cannot know what you don’t know about your own vulnerabilities and changing laws.
When you call The Firm For Men at 757-383-9184, or when you contact us online, you begin the bond that can last for years. Our family law services start with the attorney-client relationship and can continue through separation, divorce, custody issues, modifications and much more. Please feel free to reach out to us even years after your successfully negotiated divorce. Lives change. Plans change. We are here to help.