After a contract dispute or an injury settlement, you never have to deal with the other party again. But after a divorce, you will have ongoing contact with your ex-spouse over child custody, child support, and spousal support issues. Even if everyone abides by the terms of the divorce decree, changed circumstances can force you into an adversarial situation with your ex-spouse.
Here are three ways a divorce lawyer can help you after your final divorce decree has been issued.
Move Away Orders
Under most circumstances, a parent needs court approval to move the children away from the other parent. But the process for resolving these issues depends on many factors including:
- The reasons for the move
- How the move will impact the children
- Whether the move will interfere with the visitation arrangement
When you want to move your children to another town or even another state, you will likely need to consult your lawyer. Your lawyer will advise you about the likelihood of obtaining permission from the court to move and how you can improve your chances of success.
If you want to oppose your ex-spouse’s move, you should also consult a lawyer. The law protects your access to your children, and you may have grounds to oppose the move.
Your final decree will address:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Property division
This decree can govern you and your ex-spouse for years, even decades, if you have small children when you divorce. Over this time, the circumstances for you and your ex-spouse will evolve. If changed circumstances necessitate a change in the terms of your divorce, you should talk to your lawyer about modifying your divorce decree.
For example, suppose you change jobs. If your new salary is less than your salary when you divorced, you may need to change the amount you pay for alimony and child support. Similarly, if your ex-spouse gets a better job, you might ask for a reduction in the alimony you pay.
Enforcement is by far the most common circumstance to need your divorce attorney’s help after the divorce is final. The final decree sets out the terms of your post-marriage relationship. Unfortunately, ex-spouses often do not live up to the terms of the divorce decree.
Many disputes surround money and kids. An ex-spouse habitually keeps the kids longer than allowed or takes the kids out of state without discussing travel plans. A parent misses child support payments and fails to make them up. Disputes can also arise around alimony. Late or missing alimony payments can disrupt the recipient’s ex-spouse’s financial plans and even deprive them of the ability to meet their daily needs.
Your divorce lawyer might try to work with the other lawyer to try to bring your ex-spouse into compliance. But sometimes a family court judge or state child support agency must get involved. The government has many coercive tools at its disposal, ranging from wage garnishment to threats of jail for contempt of court.
Staying in Touch with Your Lawyer
Unfortunately, post-divorce disputes happen more often than you might expect. Disputes arise even in amicable divorces where you might think the risk of conflict is low. Changed circumstances and life changes can make even the most carefully crafted divorce decree obsolete in a short time.
If you have a good lawyer, stay in touch. If you were not happy with your lawyer, find a new one. More likely than not, you will need a lawyer to help with enforcement, modifications, or move-away orders.