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Post Judgment

After the "Final Judgment" in a Divorce or Legal Separation.

What happens after the settlement agreement or judgment at trial?
Because family law cases deal with "life issues" that are constantly changing (kids' needs change as they grow older, people get better jobs or lose jobs, and other circumstances change significantly), it is not uncommon for people to need a modification to their "final" orders issued in their divorce case. Sometimes, unanticipated issues arise and new orders are necessary. These are called "Post-Judgment Issues." Some examples of common "Post-Judgment" issues are:

Spousal Support Modifications.
For example, you receive a spousal support award in your divorce trial, based on your income of $1,000 per month and your inability to find higher paying work. A year later, you've completed specialized training and were able to get a job earning $5,000 per month. In that circumstance, your former spouse may have grounds to ask the court to reduce your spousal support, because you are now better able to support yourself. If the parties cannot agree on the reduction (through the use of a Stipulation and Order (see the Divorce 101 section), then they may need to appear in court and have a judge decide.

Child Support Modifications.
Your child support orders may have been based on your children spending 40% of their time with their other parent. As your children grow up, their needs obviously change. You may discover that now, several years later your kids are teenagers and spend almost no time with the other parent. Or the other parent stops exercising their time with the kids, or has had a job loss. All of these circumstances give rise to a "significant change in circumstances" required for the court to re-examine the orders on timesharing schedules and/or child support and modify its orders. If the parties cannot agree on what the timeshare schedule or support modification should be, (through the use of a Stipulation and Order (see the Divorce 101 section), then they may need to appear in court and have a judge decide.

Other Post-Judgment Issues:

  • You need the court's help to enforce your original divorce orders (where the other spouse is not complying with the orders, such as payment of monies, turnover of assets or payment of debts).
  • You discover undisclosed assets after the divorce, or property that both sides forgot about and the court now needs to order the property divided.
  • A parent has developed a drug or alcohol problem, or now lives with a partner who poses a danger to the children and you need orders to protect the children during visits with the other parent.
  • You need to move away from the area for work or other reasons and need to have custody and visitation orders changed.

There are a myriad of issues that can arise after your divorce is final. The way those issues are addressed is typically by the filing of a motion in the family law court, requesting the court modify or enforce the prior orders.

To save time and money, your Bennett Family Law attorneys will reach out to the other party or their attorney, and try to come to a reasonable agreement without the expense and hassle of going to court.