top of page

Life Happens: Modifications of Divorce Agreements


Your divorce is over and you are finally enjoying time spent on things other than court appearances, stressful settlement negotiations and the need to provide your attorney with voluminous financial statements. Then……….just when things seem quiet……….life happens and your former spouse is seeking a modification of your settlement agreement and Judgment of Divorce.


Generally, the equitable distribution of assets and the allocation of liabilities in a settlement agreement are final and irrevocable. In contrast, issues such as custody and support are subject to modifications in accordance with the prevailing law and factual circumstances. Parties can also provide for modifications in their settlement agreement upon certain specified triggering events.


In the case of child support, parties can opt out of the statutory basis for modification, of which there are three. In connection with child custody issues, a party seeking to modify residential custody or parenting time must demonstrate an unanticipated change in circumstances. An example of such a change may include, but not be limited to: the residential parent becoming ill and not able to care for the child any longer; the relocation of a parent and other unanticipated circumstances, which may implicate the child(ren)’s best interests.


When the parties are able to effectively communicate and cooperate, modifications need not require contentious court intervention, but……..modifications of the settlement agreement generally require that any modifications are memorialized in writing and duly acknowledged. This requirement is often included in the settlement agreement itself. Another way to accomplish a valid modification is for the parties to come to an accord regarding the issue, so that the proponent of the modification can file a petition, and the court can issue an order in conformity with the parties’ wishes at the initial court appearance or shortly thereafter.


Change is hard, but life happens. Its always better for parties to work together to navigate life’s curveballs.

15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page