While the end of divorce often signals the end of the process, there may be times that further court proceedings are warranted. There are two primary reasons that post-divorce proceedings are needed:
- There is a material and substantial change of circumstances that warrant a modification of the divorce terms.
- One of the spouses had not complied with the agreed terms of the divorce.
If such a change of circumstances exists one might file a Complaint for Modification. Examples of such changes include a determination of college costs; a change in child support due to changes in income or emancipation of a child; changes in medical coverage; etc. A modification case uses the same docket number as the divorce but is a separate proceeding with a new beginning and end.
If there is a failure to comply one might file a Complaint for Contempt. To succeed the filer must show a violation of a clear and unequivocal term of a prior court order. This means that the obligation must be clear for there to be certainty that it was violated. If the violation is unclear the contempt action will not succeed. If the violation is clear the violator is likely to be found in contempt, and can ask the judge to impose on the violator the cost of the legal fees and costs to pursue the contempt case. Judges will sometimes order the violating person to pay a portion of the other person’s attorney’s fees and costs.
After a divorce, clients are sometimes reluctant to re-open terms resolved in the divorce due to fear of conflict or cost. Weighing the risk and benefit of this decision is important to this decision and a special skill of the lawyers at the firm.
At Grossman & Associates, you’ll find practical advice and expert representation. Call us today to learn more.
Grossman & Associates, Ltd.