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Are divorce agreements or judgments set in stone?

The parties going through a divorce may come to their own agreements on issues such as child custody and spousal support, or the matter may go to trial. Whatever the case is, divorce agreements and judgments are not necessarily set in stone.

For example, if you agreed to pay spousal support or were ordered to and then get laid off from your job, you could seek a modification. The same principle applies if your hours were drastically cut back. The judge will probably want to see that you have made efforts to find comparable work, though.

Spousal support

Spousal support determinations are usually based on factors such as length of marriage and both parties’ earning potential. For example, someone who was out of the work force for three years to care for the children and who has two years of college education could be said to have more earning potential than someone who has been out of the work force for 20 years.

However, other financial factors can influence a case even after a divorce and alimony order have gone through. Take the case of someone who is receiving spousal support and then who receives an inheritance that puts his or her net worth well above the ex-spouse’s. Spousal support may no longer be fair in such a case. The reverse can happen, too. A payer might be asked to pay more if he or she receives a considerable inheritance.

Child-related issues

Children change. They grow, and their needs no longer remain the same. Parents change, too. Some may even move out of state. One parent may take on full or joint custody, meaning that the other parent pays less in child support. Thus, what two parents agreed to in a parenting plan may no longer apply.

Many situations warrant a divorce decree modification. If you think yours is one, an attorney can advise you.

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