Why You May Be Revisiting Your Settled Divorce

Divorces are rarely easy, and even when both parties agree with all of the settlement terms, the emotional toil can be excruciating.

After all, you’re closing a significant chapter in your life. Even when the marriage is brief, emotions can still be raw, and the best way to start the healing process is to sign the divorce decree. Finally, just when you think you can start getting your life back on track, something pops up. Now, you’re dealing with potential delays in finalizing a settled divorce.

Unfortunately, this is more common than most couples want to think about. So, why would you want to revisit the terms of your settled divorce? There are a few reasons why it may make sense to head back to family court.

Why Your Divorce Terms May Be Revisited

A Parent is Moving

A common reason former couples head back to family court involves their children. Whether it’s joint or partial custody, courts work hard to ensure both parents can spend quality time with their children.

Both parents must submit their valid addresses. Yes, the court will probably check, so don’t get creative and try to list an office building or vacant lot as a permanent residence. The reason the court wants to know where you live is for the custody agreement. Your shared children will be spending time at both parents’ addresses. However, life goes on after a divorce, and this means things change.

A spouse may be transferred to another city for work or move out of state to start a new life with someone else. While this is perfectly legal, the relocating parent can’t just up and take the children, especially true in joint custody arrangements. The relocating spouse must have permission from the court before they move with their shared children.

Reopening the divorce agreement may make it possible for the children to move with the parent, or the court can decide to award custody to the parent who’s staying at their address. Don’t even think about disobeying a court-order child custody agreement, even if you’re only moving one county over.

Not only could you face child custody charges, but kidnapping is another possibility. With that, you’re risking losing all of your parental rights with a single move.

Revisiting Alimony or Child Support Payment Amounts

Money is another common reason former couples find themselves back in court. If you’re responsible for paying alimony or child support, don’t even think about skipping the payments. You’re risking fines, possible jail time, and potentially having your visitation rights canceled for non-payment of child support.

You should also expect to have your wages garnished until the missing payments are caught up. Not only is this embarrassing, yes, your employer will know, but it can also derail your career prospects. After all, how can someone at work trust you if you’re not willing to provide for your children?

Going back to court is your only legal option unless you and your former spouse come to an agreement. You’re still back in court, but now it’s only a formality. The judge signs off on the new agreement, and you get back to your separate lives.

When you can’t reach an agreement with your former spouse, it’s up to the judge to decide to lower your support payments or keep them the same. Unless you can prove extreme financial duress, you should expect to lose your appeal.

Fraud is Discovered

Unfortunately, some divorces can bring a new meaning to the term acrimonious. Emotions can run high in a divorce and some former spouses can begin displaying some less-than-favorable traits that include dishonesty.

Suddenly, bank account balances are a little smaller than one spouse has been led to believe. Why does this matter? If alimony or child support is part of the settlement, the monthly payment amounts are based on the payee’s earnings and assets. If you’re divorcing in a community property state, you may not be receiving everything you’re entitled to.

If you uncover fraud, contact your divorce attorney, gather evidence, and file for a new court date.

Time Limits May Apply

When it comes to redoing child custody arrangements, the courts don’t impose any time limits. However, it’s different if you discover fraud. Connecticut law only gives you one year from the date of discovery to revisit your original divorce settlement.

If your former spouse used duress to make you accept the terms of the divorce, you have two years to petition the courts to reopen your case. In other words, don’t wait to talk to a divorce attorney; the clock may already be ticking. 

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Posted - 02/01/2024