It is extremely common for divorced couples to modify (change) terms of their separation agreement after the Court has approved it. As a general rule, upon a significant change in circumstances, court orders which relate to child support, child custody, and alimony can be modified.
The actual language of the separation agreement is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT when it comes to modifications. This is quite technical but simply put if the language in the agreement allows changes in child related matters or alimony- those matters can be changed. By contrast, if the language of the agreement does not allow such changes, they cannot be changed.
For example, if the payer or payee of child support or alimony experiences a “significant” increase or decrease in pay (job loss), it is quite likely that the Court will entertain a request to “modify” the terms of the separation agreement. In order to accomplish such a change the person wanting the change must file a “complaint for modification” with the Court. This is simply a “request” for a change. This request is served on the opposing party, and a lawsuit, or court battle ensues.
The important point to remember is that “MEDIATION” is not solely divorce mediation. Mediation can be utilized to assist the parties to modify child support, to change parenting plans for children, to change custody, and to change alimony. The factors which make MEDIATION attractive to people going through a divorce are exactly the same when people are contemplating a modification. The sessions remain CONFIDENTIAL and VOLUNTARY. The mediator remains neutral, and while the mediator can provide a great deal of legal information regarding modifications, he cannot provide legal advice.
The advantages of using “MEDIATION” to resolve a modification issue are the same as for a divorce: LESS EXPENSIVE, LESS TIME CONSUMING, AND LESS INFLAMMATORY. It simply makes no sense to spend thousands of dollars on an attorney to represent the plaintiff, and thousands more for the defendant to oppose the attempt to change the separation agreement.
A MEDIATOR experience in litigating such matters can often help the parties reach a conclusion in a matter of hours and at a fraction of the cost of going to court. I personally have represented people in these matters hundreds of times. It simply makes no sense to spend thousands of dollars and months of your time, and then allow a disinterested judge to make a decision which will have a large impact on your family.
If you and your former spouse are sane, reasonable people, I can assist you in these matters. You don’t have to like your former spouse or even get along with them. You simply must realize the sheer folly of using significant resources going to Court when a better option is available.
IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN SUCH A SITUATION, PLEASE CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION. 508-833-2622.