The divorce process can be very stressful, and you may be relieved when it is finally over. But conflicts can arise years after the divorce, especially if you share children with your ex-spouse. Our team of Maryland post-divorce disputes lawyers is ready to support you when circumstances change, or when your ex-spouse requests something different than the final judgment.
Marriage and families create responsibilities that could affect your whole family. Sometimes the Marital Settlement Agreement simply does not anticipate certain events, requiring a return to court. Our divorce attorneys understand that conflicts and change can come quickly, or even decades after a divorce. We could help make your post-divorce simpler.
The Types of Disputes That May Arise After Divorce
Unexpected things can happen that might require parties to revisit the terms of the divorce and ask for modification. Some of the conflicts fall into three categories.
Failure to Comply with the Final Judgment
A final judgment of divorce has the full force of a court order, and parties must comply with all terms of the judgment. If an ex-spouse fails to do what the court has ordered, a judge can hold them in contempt, make them pay attorney’s fees, or do whatever may be necessary to enforce the final judgment. For example, if an ex-spouse withholds access, the court order make-up visitation for the time missed. If a spouse fails to pay child support, a court may garnish wages and take other actions to secure a child’s rights.
A Maryland attorney who practices divorce and family law could file a motion to enforce the final judgment, or prepare evidence needed to respond to a request for modification.
Change of Financial Circumstances
Another reason a party may need help after a divorce involves a change in economic or financial circumstances. If a party loses their job, or becomes disabled, for instance, they may not be able to meet spousal or child support obligations. Conversely, if a spouse gets a much higher paying job or becomes successful in a business, a modification of support may also be appropriate.
Changes in Child Custody and Relocation Requests
Many scenarios may compel a party to seek changes in child custody arrangements. The final judgment addresses custody, visitation, and support, and any party wanting to modify the terms must request a change in the court order. It could be that the parent with physical custody gets a job in another state and needs to relocate, or a parent becomes ill or unable to care for the children.
Co-parents may agree to change custody arrangements, but these changes still must be filed with the court as a written stipulation. A lawyer who understands post-judgment disputes could help draft an agreement that becomes part of the final judgment.
Can a Final Judgment of Divorce be Changed?
A final judgment of divorce can be changed either by agreement of the parties or modification of the final order. In cases involving child custody or support, the court will always judge what is in the best interests of the children if there is a valid legal basis for the modification. In order to qualify for a modification a party must prove that there has been a material change in circumstance sufficient to warrant an adjustment.
Aside from unemployment, a variation in income (generally 25 percent or more) can merit a modification of a final judgment. In any request to modify the final judgment, the burden of proof is on the party making the request, and the court will review evidence like documents and expert and factual witnesses.
How a Maryland Post-Divorce Disputes Lawyer Can Help
If you find yourself in a different circumstance after divorce, a Maryland post-divorce disputes attorney can advocate for what is best for you and your family. Perhaps nothing has changed for you, but your ex-spouse wants to modify the agreement you made. In either case, a consultation with our family attorney can help you take the next steps to protect your children and your rights and move forward with confidence.