Circumstances can change as time passes. At the time of your divorce, the agreements made seemed appropriate and amicable. But what happens when things change? Do you have any options with respect to requirements and conditions set forth in your original divorce decree?
Cherry Hill divorce attorneys know that divorced individuals are not “stuck” with the original agreement that may have been made 10 or 15 years ago. The courts are well aware there may come a time when changes need to be made.
What Types of Events Might Lead to Change?
The types of things that can occur in an individual’s life at any given time are innumerable. Still, there are a few things divorce attorneys and judges hear about that commonly lead to a request to change the terms of the divorce decree. For instance, if the party who was required to make alimony and/or child support payments loses his or her job, that is a significant change in circumstances that would possibly require a modification of divorce terms.
Another example of a change in circumstances is when one party remarries and the former spouse who was required to make child support and/or alimony payments believes he or she should no longer be required to pay or should pay much less than currently required.
Some Issues Require a Post-Divorce Modification
In New Jersey family court, judges and attorneys occasionally refer to a “Lepis” motion. The term “Lepis” actually refers to a case name, Lepis v. Lepis, wherehe judge found that courts are permitted to establish child support, alimony and other orders pertaining to family law cases, and they also have the power to adjust or revise such orders when circumstances change.
Individuals seeking to change their original divorce agreement can seek to have their order modified by the court. Modifications are typically used when changes have occurred with respect to finances, particularly when the divorce decree takes into account college payments and financing for a child who was quite young at the time of the divorce but is now college age.
Additionally, some individuals learn of assets and/or property that was hidden at the time of the divorce. Assets are often easily hidden and can remain undetected for years. If a party discovers such assets and/or property, he or she is encouraged to seek legal guidance from an attorney right away.
Post-Divorce Enforcement Issues
On occasion, one party may refuse or fail to abide by the terms of the divorce decree. When that occurs, the party seeking enforcement may reach out to the court for help with enforcing the order. This most often happens when an individual fails to make child support and/or alimony payments as required by the original order, or when a parent fails to abide by set parenting schedules.
Anyone with questions or concerns about changes that may affect the efficacy of their original divorce decree are encouraged to work with a skilled divorce attorney, as post-divorce issues can be quite complex. A lawyer can help you obtain the changes you seek and ensure your rights are protected. Call Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP at (856) 795-3300 or use our online contact form.