When your divorce became final, your relationship with your ex did not end. You might have remaining financial obligations to each other, such as alimony and child support. If you have minor children, you have a parenting plan covering custody, visitation, decision-making authority, and other issues.
People’s lives are always changing, and the circumstances that once applied to you and your former spouse might not apply now. You or your former spouse might feel it is time to modify one or more of your existing agreements. If so, you should consult a seasoned divorce attorney for advice.
State law allows former spouses to modify existing court orders, but only under certain circumstances. Whether you are hoping for a change or want to keep things as they are, a Junction City post-divorce disputes lawyer could help you meet your goals.
Enforcing Existing Orders
A court expects the parties to comply with any orders it issues when granting a divorce. If one spouse is not compliant, the other could bring a motion to enforce the order.
If a legal professional brings an enforcement motion, the judge will usually hold a hearing. The other party will have to present a reasonable explanation for their non-compliance. If they do not have an appropriate excuse, the judge could order them to comply and impose penalties, including covering the other party’s attorney’s fees. In some extreme cases, the judge might find the non-compliant party in contempt of court and order them to pay fines or even serve time in jail.
Sometimes a non-compliant party has a reasonable excuse for failing to follow the judge’s original order to the letter. In such cases, the non-compliant party might seek to modify the original court order, or the judge might decide to issue a modified order.
Seeking an Order Modification
Sometimes an order modification happens because a party brought a motion to force compliance, as described above. In other cases, a change in circumstances might spur a party to seek to modify a court order.
The party requesting a modification must prove that the change in their circumstances is substantial. Changes that could justify a request for a modification include:
- Job loss
- Serious health problems
- Birth of an additional child
- Child develops a significant physical or mental health condition
- Child exhibits a talent or skill
- Parent’s income increases significantly
- Parent wishes to relocate
A Junction City post-divorce disputes attorney could consult with a spouse to determine whether a life change is likely to merit modifying a court order.
If the order a spouse seeks to modify involves child support or custody, according to Kansas Statute §23-3201, the court must determine whether the change serves the children’s best interests. When deciding whether to modify an existing order, the judge will consider the child’s:
- Relationship with each of their parents
- Specific needs
- Ties to siblings
A judge may also take into account each parent’s support of the other parent’s relationship with the child when making their decision.
Modifying Property Division Orders
Modifying a property division order in Junction City is challenging. Courts will not consider modifying a property division order unless the party seeking modification files a motion within one year of the final divorce decree.
In general, property division orders are final. A spouse wishing to contest a property division order must show proof that the other spouse failed to disclose assets or debts or that information impacting the property division was not available at the time the court issued the final divorce decree.
A spouse who believes they have grounds to modify a property division order should consult a post-divorce disputes lawyer in Junction City as quickly as possible. Even if evidence exists that the other spouse made a fraudulent financial disclosure, courts will not reopen the matter if too much time has passed.
Resolve Post-Divorce Disputes With a Junction City Attorney
Divorce decrees are intended to be final, but sometimes there is good reason to change them. In other situations, a spouse might seek a change that is not warranted.
Whether you wish to modify a decree or force adherence to the orders currently in place, a Junction City post-divorce disputes lawyer could help you. Call today to discuss your situation with a dedicated legal professional.