Almost nobody plays the board game Monopoly by its official rules. Part of the reason: the real game seems to never end. The world record for the longest Monopoly game1 is 70 straight days, says Hasbro, the game’s manufacturer. Divorce may seem like that, too: it seems like it never ends. Yet keeping in touch with your divorce lawyer after the divorce is important, not least for two simple words: post-decree motions. Talking to your lawyer after the dust settles is almost as solid a game-winning strategy as buying Illinois Avenue (it’s landed on the most2).
Talking to Your Attorney about the Rules of the Game Post-divorce
After the divorce is final, you and your attorney will be a bit less pressured. You can sit down and discuss issues in depth that neither of you had time to consider during the proceedings.
You may be unclear about particulars and wording of the decree, or financial ramifications of your divorce, or how to comply with the judge’s directions. You may not fully understand the rules of the game.
Your lawyer can advise you exactly how to comply with the decree, including helpful advice that can prevent you being hauled into court again through filings by your ex-wife.
Avoiding Post-Decree Motions
Your ex-wife can nibble you to death with post-decree motions, if she can afford the time and expense. If she gets wind of something that you are doing that violates—or hints that it could violate, or reminds her of a thing that a friend’s hairdresser’s neighbor’s sister’s ex-husband did that violated—the divorce terms, you can end up explaining yourself before the same judge who granted the divorce. These post-decree motions can be about anything:
- Children, including visitation, custody, and support
- Finances, including alimony, failure to pay alimony, or a modification to the award
- Decision to relocate, sell a home, or travel abroad
Far better than re-hiring your attorney to fend off a series of post-decree motions is your level-headed strategy to avoid issues in the first place.
Some couples fall into a pattern of re-litigating their divorce by perpetually filing post-decree motions to quibble over every little topic. This can be a way to continue to interfere with an ex-spouse for no real constructive purpose. Your lawyer can offer you sound advice on picking and choosing your battles, and will likely steer you toward constructive, not destructive, legal steps.
By talking to your attorney after your divorce is final, the two of you can frame a strategy for dealing with issues so you protect your rights and those of your children.
We have talked about adequate defense against your ex-wife filing post-decree motions. What about your options to file them? With few exceptions, the only two useful areas for which you should consider filing post-decree motions against your ex-wife are:
- Spousal support
If you find the decree is truly a burden, you cannot ignore the parts you do not like. Return to your attorney’s office and explore solutions, rather than defying the judge. Perhaps the best way forward really is a post-decree motion from your side, but perhaps, too, simply having your attorney and her attorney mediate a compromise could be more helpful.
In the game of monopoly, owning just one utility, like Water Works, increases rent by four times the going rate. You don’t want this to be the case with your divorce, where subsequent arguments are costing you money, even well after your divorce. By meeting with your attorney in the less hectic days after the divorce is final, you can learn some useful tools for staying in the good graces of your ex-wife’s attorney and the court:
- Pay your spousal or child support a few days early every month
- Offer her some latitude in sharing custody of your children
- Be diplomatic, polite, and even nice to your ex-wife and her attorney
Every small deposit you make in that emotional savings account means you can make a withdrawal, later, should you need to. Consider custody: you agree to work with her to take the children during her vacation schedule or an out-of-town trip for her college roommate’s wedding. In return, you ask for the same consideration when you want to fly to Las Vegas for a long weekend. No need for anyone to turn on the water works or exchange angry words.
Your lawyer went through your divorce, too, so you can benefit from that close community of advice and memory. You may need to recount timelines or particular events should you need to return to court, and your lawyer’s memory doubles your chances of getting things right.
Get Out of Jail Free Card
You may be so stunned, wounded or upset throughout the divorce that you only realize afterward that you were not thinking clearly. Your attorney can clarify exactly what you agreed to, and, if necessary, ask the judge to amend or alter the decree to better protect your rights and fulfill your responsibilities.
While this usually stems from financial limitations, any part of the decree can be re-examined. You may have agreed to take your children for three months in summer without realizing their actual time off from school is only nine weeks, for example. Perhaps you have no plan or budget for before- or after-school daycare.
Trust The Firm For Men, Become a Client For Life
The little realities of day-to-day life may only come to you when they happen, and your attorney is your ally in making those moments easier. With The Firm For Men, you’re a client for life – contact us online today or give us a call at 757-383-9184 to learn more about the important advice and services we can provide. We’re located in the heart of Virginia Beach, and proudly serve all of Hampton Roads.