While all parties work hard to ensure the divorce order is accurate and sustainable, when one individual experiences a substantial change in circumstances certain factors must be modified. Factors related to property division – division of physical assets, division of digital assets and division of debt responsibility – cannot be modified. However, it might be possible to modify spousal support, child support and time sharing.
It is not uncommon for individuals to face substantial changes in circumstances after a divorce. Generally, these changes are related to financial stability or required occupational relocation, including:
- Job loss
- Reduction in hours
- Medical emergency
- Emergency home repair
- Mandatory work relocation
In some instances, an individual might seek debt relief through bankruptcy. Since a divorce order is unaffected by bankruptcy, these modifications must be pursued through a different legal action. When seeking a modification, the petitioner must specifically identify the change in circumstances and make it clear how these circumstances did not exist when the final judgment in the dissolution of marriage was made. There must be clear communication and no vague language that undermines the importance of the modification.
Avoid verbal agreements
Many divorced couples still communicate often and find themselves getting along as friends with the stress of marriage removed. When life circumstances change that could affect the parenting plan, child support or spousal support situation, these couples might fall into the trap of verbal agreements. They might agree to changes in support payments or agree to change holidays in a parenting time document, but if these agreements are verbal in nature, there is no legal recourse and no chance for enforcement.
If you need a modification or revision to the divorce order, it is crucial you follow the legal process. Do not hesitate to discuss your changing circumstances with an experienced family law attorney.