Once you and your former spouse have received your divorce decree and are moving forward with your own lives, you remain linked, especially if you share children. Disputes about spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support often erupt years after a divorce is final.
If you and your former spouse are in conflict, a seasoned divorce attorney could help you decide how to handle the issue. A negotiated agreement usually is the best alternative but sometimes going to court is necessary. A Manhattan post-divorce disputes lawyer could assess your situation and present the legal options that best meet your goals.
Disputes That Could Arise After a Divorce
When a couple divorces, their divorce decree contains multiple directives. These describe how the couple will divide their property and whether one spouse will receive ongoing financial support. If the couple shares children, their divorce decree will contain a parenting plan. The plan establishes where the children will live, how often they will see the non-custodial parent, how the parents will make decisions and resolve disputes, and how much child support the custodial parent will receive.
These plans are developed while the parents are divorcing using the information available at the time and the situation that currently exists. Over time, more or different information might become available, and situations change. Issues that could lead to a post-divorce dispute include situations where a:
- Parent enters a new relationship, and the co-parent wants to limit a child’s contact with the new partner
- Parent develops a substance abuse issue, and the other parent wants to change custody arrangements
- Spouse receiving alimony graduates from college, and the former spouse wants to stop paying support
- Spouse receiving alimony develops a health condition and wants to extend the term of spousal support
- Spouse learns former spouse fraudulently understated the value of their assets and wants to reopen property division negotiations
- One parent wants to relocate out of state and bring the children
- Child wishes to move from one parent’s home to the other’s
Any development that could impact the former spouses’ finances or parenting plan could lead to a post-divorce dispute.
Working with a mediator or proactive post-divorce disputes attorneys in Manhattan could lead to a resolution that both parties can live with. In that case, a legal professional could prepare a document setting out the parties’ agreement and file it with the court. Courts typically approve new arrangements if both former spouses agree.
Best Interests of the Children is the Primary Consideration
In any dispute involving children, courts will approve arrangements only if they promote the children’s best interests. Kansas Statutes Annotated §23-3203 lists the factors judges must consider when deciding a child’s best interests, including the child’s:
- Age and maturity
- Special needs, gifts, or talents
- Relationship with each parent
- Ties to siblings, community, school, and extended family
The law leaves the weight a judge gives to these factors and others to the judge’s discretion.
When a post-divorce dispute involves child custody, visitation, relocation, or child support, the arrangement must meet the child’s best interest standard even if the parents agree. A court will reject an arrangement the parents negotiated if the judge feels it is contrary to the children’s best interests. A skilled post-divorce disputes lawyer in Manhattan could help parents craft an agreement and present it to demonstrate its support of the children’s best interests.
Bringing a Post-Divorce Dispute to Court
Sometimes former spouses cannot agree on an issue. In that case, one spouse might go to court seeking to modify or enforce an existing agreement.
Courts will consider modifying orders like child support, child custody, or alimony if the spouse seeking a modification can show a significant change in circumstances. Whether a change is substantial enough to merit a modification depends on multiple factors, but significant changes in health, income, or personal obligations could support a modification. Note that courts will not modify property division agreements unless a spouse can demonstrate fraud, and the spouse must make the request for modification within one year of the divorce.
If a spouse seeks enforcement of a divorce order, courts generally ask the non-compliant spouse to explain why they are not obeying it. Depending on the reason for non-compliance, a judge might modify the existing order or direct the non-compliant spouse to adhere to the original order. Sometimes a judge finds the non-compliant spouse in contempt and assesses fines, penalties, and even jail time.
Resolve Issues with the Help of a Manhattan Post-Divorce Disputes Attorney
Although a divorce ends a marriage, it does not end the relationship between the two people involved, especially if they have children. Conflicts over issues involving spousal support, child custody, visitation, or child support are common.
A negotiated settlement is often possible, but sometimes these matters must go to court for resolution. Either way, a Manhattan post-divorce disputes lawyer could help you achieve your goals. Schedule an appointment to speak with a knowledgeable legal professional today.