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Can changes be made to my divorce agreement after the fact?

By Jamie Berger, Esq.

Divorce Agreement Modification/Enforcement Lawyers Morristown NJ

Reasons for change generally fall into two broad categories, enforcement, and modification, Learn more with experienced Family Law Attorneys in Morris County and Northern New Jersey

Divorce Agreement Modification/Enforcement Lawyers Morristown NJEven given the most skilled attorney, collaborative communication with an ex, and organized plan, a divorce agreement sometimes reaches a point at which an aspect no longer serves the post-divorce arrangement. As with anything, dynamics and circumstances change as time goes on and each person settles into their new lives. No matter how long ago the original document was drafted, if there comes a time at which some aspect of the divorce agreement is no longer functioning, it is important to hire an experienced attorney to determine the legal standing for an addendum to be made. Fortunately, the New Jersey Superior Court acknowledges that as separate lives evolve, divorce agreements may need to evolve with them. The court system also takes into account that a legally binding agreement doesn’t necessarily result in one or both partners abiding by the terms.

Our law office receives many inquiries regarding whether aspects of their divorce agreements can be changed, including

  • Alimony adjustments due to change in employment or being laid off.
  • Breaches of the agreement involving terms of child custody arrangements.
  • Changes in a professional or personal situation that take one parent out of New Jersey.
  • Child support adjustments due to remarriage and new children.
  • Hidden assets discovered after the divorce agreement was finalized.

Post-judgment amendment

As noted, there is a myriad of ways in which a legal divorce document can require a post-judgment amendment in the NJ Superior Court. Reasons for change generally fall into two broad categories, enforcement, and modification.

Requests for alterations regarding enforcement often regard one spouse’s breach of the terms of the agreement. If one spouse is not following the terms of the final judgment, they are breaking a legally-binding document. As such, you are entitled to seek the support of the court to demand that those terms be met. The New Jersey Superior Court often sees enforcement cases regarding a spouse’s failure to pay alimony or child support on time or at all; breaches of the terms of a parenting time schedule, a detailed agenda of shared custody time-share arrangements with children; or failure to seek permission from a spouse in order to sell a shared asset.

Terms for a Divorce Agreement and Child Custody Arrangements

Terms for a Divorce Agreement and Child Custody ArrangementsResults of approaching the New Jersey Superior Court for enforcement of the terms of a divorce agreement, which includes child custody arrangements, generally take the form of compensation made for the breach. This may be either monetary or time, as in the case of breach of a parenting time schedule, in which case the court may order that make-up time is awarded the plaintiff parent.

Modification Based on Hidden Assets or Withheld Information

While not technically under the umbrella of enforcement, a similar reason for a request for modification stems from one spouse learning that, during the divorce proceedings, the other withheld information or hid assets that affected the outcome or fair division of assets in the divorce agreement. This type of post-judgment alteration will likely result in a reworking of the alimony payments received by the plaintiff. It is recommended that, in such a case, you seek the support of an experienced attorney who specializes in this area in order to ensure that you receive the full extent of what is fairly yours in the separation.

Natural Evolution of Individuals Lives

A more amicable reason to approach the New Jersey Superior Court regarding a divorce agreement post-judgment is called a modification. This is a much more naturally occurring response to the natural evolution of individuals’ lives after a divorce. Sometimes, what was applicable and appropriate for the foreseeable future – as it relates to shared payments, decisions regarding children, etc –  changes as the divorce evolves. Additionally, life circumstances that render the original agreement difficult, impossible, or simply inappropriate to continue for the highest benefit of both spouses and their children arise. This could include one partner being laid off and no longer being able to make child support payments at the original rate or a cross-country job opportunity that inevitably would shift the terms of a child custody arrangement, for example.

Modification Based on Long Term Future of the Children

Another oft-seen request for modification by the New Jersey Superior Court involves the couple’s renegotiation of terms involving the long-term future, such as college payments for their child, which, when seen up close, appear more daunting and in need of a rehashing of the original agreement.

Consult our Morris County Divorce Modifications and Enforcement Attorneys

At Jacobs Berger, LLC, our New Jersey divorce attorneys are skilled in ensuring that our clients across Morris County and Northern New Jersey are supported in upholding the terms of their divorce and custody agreements or amending them if necessary.

Our direct approach ensures that the evolution of divorce is reflected in the legally binding divorce agreement.

To speak with our firm today regarding your divorce agreement, please contact us at 973-710-4366 or check our online form; we look forward to representing your legal rights.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.