When a court issues a divorce decree, it includes orders covering significant issues like child custody and support, property division, and alimony. While that order might have been reasonable at the time, for various reasons one or more aspects of it may not be working now. Perhaps your former spouse is not complying with the agreement, or maybe your children have different needs now than when a court issued the initial order.
If some aspect of your divorce agreement is no longer operating effectively, you may be able to seek an amendment of the original order. A Guilford post-divorce disputes lawyer can explain the law and help you negotiate a modification. If your ex-spouse is unwilling to agree on a change, the divorce attorneys at our firm have extensive courtroom experience. They will put their litigation skills to work for you and fight for the outcome that meets your needs.
Many post-divorce disputes revolve around financial arrangements. Often, a change in circumstances leads one spouse to seek a modification in child support or alimony payments. Sometimes, evidence emerges after a divorce becomes final that one spouse hid assets from the other, depriving them of their fair share of marital property. Post-divorce legal actions can address both situations.
Modifications to child support or alimony may be appropriate if one parent’s income undergoes significant change, a receiving spouse remarries or moves in with a partner, a parent or child develops a serious health condition, or a child develops special needs.
Changes in circumstances are legitimate causes to modify orders, but if a party seeking modification wants to pay less, they must prove that an adjustment is necessary. If a parent seeks a reduction in child support, a court will assess whether the reduction serves the child’s best interests. Even if a parent can prove that their income is greatly reduced from the date of a divorce decree, a court can impute income to a parent if a court believes the parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.
Evidence sometimes emerges after a divorce that a party hid assets to prevent their inclusion in the marital property division. A party might also interfere with a property division order by failing to use their best efforts to sell a home. In such cases, a post-divorce dispute attorney in Guilford might advise a spouse to bring an action to open the original judgment on the basis of fraud or mistake of fact, or seek a contempt order against the non-compliant spouse.
A contempt action has significant consequences for an offender. According to Connecticut General Statutes §46b-87, a parent found in contempt might have to pay hefty fines or spend up to six months in jail. A judge has broad authority to garnish a violator’s assets or earnings to secure payment to the other spouse. Judges can order a spouse found in contempt to pay the other spouse’s court costs and attorney’s fees upon a finding that their failure was willful.
Parents can modify a child custody agreement if they have experienced a material change in circumstances and an alteration serves the children’s best interest. A court must approve any change in child custody. Even if the parents agree, a court will not accept a custody modification unless a judge believes it best serves the children.
In most cases, a court will not consider changing a custody order unless a reasonable amount of time has passed since the initial order or last modification. However, a court will consider modifying an order if a child’s safety or well-being is at risk. Circumstances that could merit an adjustment within a shorter timeframe include:
An experienced post-divorce disputes lawyer in Guilford can help a parent devise a modified parenting plan that works in the current circumstances and supports the children’s best interest. If litigating for or against a proposed change in a parenting plan is necessary, a local legal professional can provide skilled advocacy.
Disputes between divorced spouses happen frequently and often can be resolved through discussion and negotiation. However, if one party is uncooperative or deceitful, legal action might be necessary.
A Guilford post-divorce disputes lawyer will offer sound advice to a spouse facing a disagreement about child support, custody, alimony, or property division. The attorneys at our firm will listen to you and recommend the action that most efficiently and effectively accomplishes your goals. Reach out today to discuss your issue with an empathetic attorney.