The orders the judge issued with your divorce decree should govern the substantive issues you might still have with your ex-spouse. Although the judge issued the orders assuming they would work for you, sometimes situations change, or a spouse is unwilling to cooperate.
When you are involved in a disagreement with a former spouse, do not let it linger. Consult an attorney for advice as soon as possible. Once you allow a pattern of improper behavior to take root, it becomes harder to change.
A West Palm Beach post-divorce disputes lawyer could help you resolve the concerning issue. A negotiated solution is always the better choice, and courts encourage spouses to work out disagreements between themselves if possible. However, if necessary, your legal representative could bring your ex to court and let a judge decide the matter.
Methods for Resolving Post-Divorce Disputes
Conversations between the two former spouses are the best way to resolve disagreements after a divorce is final. If the parties eventually take their issue to court, the judge wants to see that they tried to find a compromise, especially when the dispute involves children.
Attorney-to-attorney negotiations remove the emotional charge and could help a couple reach an agreement. Mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution is another option to consider. When a person takes a post-divorce disagreement to court, the judge will likely order mediation before scheduling a hearing. Trying mediation before filing a court petition saves time and money.
When the couple finds a workable solution to their post-divorce dispute, a lawyer in West Palm Beach could formalize it in writing and submit it to the court. A judge must approve any modification to existing orders and will scrutinize a change if it directly impacts children. If the judge approves the change, the court will issue the parents’ agreement as an enforceable order.
Court Petitions for Modification of the Divorce Decree
People can usually seek to modify orders concerning alimony, child support, and timesharing (custody and visitation) after the divorce is final. They cannot modify a property division order. If a spouse accepted alimony in a lump sum, that order is final, and neither spouse can seek a modification.
If an existing order is modifiable, but the parties do not agree, the party seeking a modification must file a petition to modify with the court. They must prove a substantial change in circumstances requires a modification. Changes that could justify modifying a final order include:
- A child experiences a health issue or educational disability that requires an increase in child support or a change to their health insurance
- Paying spouse becomes disabled and can no longer afford to pay alimony
- The custodial parent loses their home in a fire or natural disaster and must make changes to the parenting plan
- A parent develops a substance abuse problem, and the other parent wants to limit the children’s overnight visits
- The paying spouse receives a post-divorce financial windfall, and the receiving spouse wants increased child support
- One parent’s military deployment, job schedule, or job transfer requires a parenting plan adjustment
The parent requesting the change must provide proof of their need to modify the order. The parent requesting modifications must also prove that a permanent substantial change has occurred since the time of the final judgement. The parent requesting modifications must also establish that the request for change is in the best interest of the child(ren).
A West Palm Beach attorney could review a person’s reasons for requesting a modification after a post-divorce dispute. They could advise whether a court will likely find it significant enough to justify a change.
Motion to Enforce an Existing Order
When one person consistently fails to comply with the court’s order, the other person could bring a motion asking the judge to force compliance. They must prove the offending person’s pattern of violations. The offending individual could try to prove complying with the order as written is impossible for them due to circumstances they cannot control. If so, the offending parent should also consider filing a petition for modification to remove said impossible provisions from the final judgement.
Parents frequently petition the court to enforce child support orders. Florida Statute § 827.06 makes it a crime to fail to pay child support when the parent has the means to pay. A court could impose multiple sanctions against the non-paying person, including suspending their driver’s license, seizing bank accounts, withholding tax refunds, and forcing the offender to pay court costs and attorney’s fees. The judge has the power to put the offending party in jail. A lawyer in West Palm Beach could explain the options for enforcement after a post-divorce dispute.
Contact a West Palm Beach Post-Divorce Disputes Attorney to Find a Solution
Resolving disputes between you and your former spouse can be challenging. A West Palm Beach post-divorce disputes lawyer could help you find common ground. If you cannot agree, they could bring or defend a court petition. Get sound legal advice before you do anything else. Call today to discuss your situation with a seasoned attorney.