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Yes, You Should Hire Your Divorce Attorney for the Long Haul
The future can change on a dime. That’s why you need legal support, not just for the divorce itself but also for all the post-divorce matters that may arise.
It’s an understatement to say that life can be unpredictable. If you asked the vast majority of people in divorce court, they never would’ve thought they’d be getting divorced. And there’s no way to predict how your personal circumstances will evolve after your divorce is finalized.
The future can indeed change on a dime—sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. That’s why you need legal support, not just for the divorce itself but also for any post-divorce matters that may arise and require your immediate attention.
What Are Post-Judgement Modifications?
After your divorce is finalized, it’s very common for circumstances to arise and situations to change—leading the courts to have to adjust their decisions and rulings to accommodate those changes. Those changes are called post-judgment modifications, such as child support, child custody and parenting time.
That’s why you want to hold onto your divorce attorney for the “long haul.” Plus, a difficulty with post-judgment modifications is that they’re not easy to get. A judge is generally reluctant to change a previously existing order. To do this, you have to show a just cause that the order needs to be changed.
That’s why it’s so important to have your divorce attorney represent you in this case. He or she should already know the ins-and-outs of your situation, and they can get up to speed much faster than a new attorney walking into your matter cold. As a result, their legal advice will be more accurate and helpful. Plus, if your attorney was a good advocate for you during your divorce, you’ll feel more at ease and confident when they represent you in a post-judgment modification.
6 Reasons Why You Need an Attorney Who Has Your Back
So, what are some other reasons you might need an attorney who knows your case and circumstances well, years after your divorce is finalized? Here are six good reasons:
1. Distribution of assets: It takes a while for real estate and retirement accounts to settle. An overlooked piece of property, changing market conditions, a pandemic, or other acts of God can stall sales or settlement. As a result, you’ll want to have an attorney who already knows the asset distribution order, how it was derived, and can help with seeing that it’s followed.
2. Help to enforce existing agreement: Sometimes, your former spouse may not follow the rules of the divorce order. For instance, your ex may not pay child support, isn’t paying the right amount, pays late, or isn’t adhering to the custody agreement. All of these need to be enforced and your attorney can ensure that they are.
3. Former spouse moves: If your ex moves out of town (or state), this will undoubtedly change the agreement for child custody and possibly child support. It may be necessary to renegotiate these conditions of the divorce agreement to meet the new situation.
4. Insurance issues: Whether you’re carrying the insurance burden or your ex is, this is an important issue. There may be a time limit on your former spouse being on insurance (or you may be the one who has a time frame to move on to your own insurance). Also, the children may have insurance issues that need to be discussed and settled. Your attorney can help with this.
5. Alimony changes: Events may come up in your life that warrant a change to your alimony amount. This requires a post-judgment modification and can include:
- If you’ve retired from your job
- If you’ve suffered a severe illness or disability
- If your ex has had a significant increase in financial status
- If you’ve had a significant decrease in financial status
- A significant job promotion of the other spouse
- Changes in work schedules of one or both parents
- The other spouse is living with another person as a life partner or remarrying.
6. Child support and custody changes: If you have minor children, the situation may alter during the course of their early lives, which requires a modification to either the child support or custody agreement (or both). These include:
- The other spouse suffering from significant issues that affect his or her ability to parent properly, such as domestic violence, substance abuse, or mental or physical health problems
- The parties’ child going to college or becoming emancipated from his or her parents
- The child turns 18. Know that some states consider that child support can stop when a child is 18. However, in other states such as here in New Jersey, if the child hasn’t moved “beyond the sphere of influence of his or her parents” then child support may continue. It’s a good idea to check in with your attorney when the children are in their last year of high school to discuss this.
- Circumstances where your child’s other parent is voluntarily unemployed
- How to account for the unearned income of one or both parents
- Handling circumstances where the investment performance of one parent’s assets changes
- Considering the impact that a new child born of a second marriage can have on a parent’s financial position
- Handling cost-of-living increases.
If you’ve gone through a divorce, it’s a good idea to stay in contact with your attorney. Further litigation including post-judgment modifications may be necessary, as you’ve learned. What’s more, you want an attorney who’s familiar with your case and you know you can trust to handle these new changes.
Contact the Experienced Family Law Attorneys at Smedley Law Group in Runnemede, NJ Today
If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you’ll also most likely be dealing with another matter like child custody, child support, or division of assets, so you’ll need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Smedley Law Group represent clients throughout the state, including West Deptford, Woodbury Heights, Runnemede, and Westville. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 251-0800 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 750 Cooper Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.