Modification Of A Divorce
Are you looking for a modification of a divorce or separation agreement? What is a divorce or separation agreement? Life is a constantly changing series of events and circumstances. Therefore, the separation or divorce agreement that made sense a couple of years ago might need to be modified.
A new employment opportunity could require that you relocate. Further, it might require changes to the child custody and access provisions of your agreement. Maybe there are unforeseen circumstances which could create a need to change the child support. Maybe there are needed changes to spousal support provisions of the agreement.
As a general rule, courts are reluctant to make changes to agreements. This is assuming they were fairly negotiated and voluntarily entered in to by its parties. However, going to court is one of the options available to you in order to modify your divorce.
Renegotiating with the Other Party
You would have signed terms of an agreement. These terms would have been reached with your spouse to settle the terms of the divorce. They might have adequately addressed a particular situation or issue. Further, the passage of time and changes in circumstances could make its provisions inadequate or onerous. For example, you might have been forced to accept a new position at work at a lower salary. Therefore, the child support you agreed to in your divorce agreement might need to be changed. The support could now be a financial burden that you can no longer meet.
Your first option when the need for a modification arises should be to approach the other party. Have a look at the agreement the two of you voluntarily signed. This might have been done at the time of separation or to settle a divorce action. It might be able to be modified through the mutual consent of its parties.
If you and the other party can agree to a change, the prior agreement continues. Your lawyer will prepare a written amendment changing only certain provisions of the agreement and leaving other provisions unchanged. The amendment becomes a part of the original agreement once it is signed by the parties.
Modification Through Arbitration or Mediation
Mediation and arbitration are two methods parties may use to modify the terms of a divorce or separation agreement. In fact, you should review the terms of your agreement to determine if one of its provisions is a requirement. See if there is a term that disputes, modifications, and amendments must be submitted to mediation or arbitration for resolution.
Mediation is a process for resolving disputes through the assistance of an impartial mediator. Mediators are trained to assist the parties to contracts and agreements to modify their terms. Further, mediators do not make decisions. Their role is to facilitate decisions and agreements made by the parties.
Modification of a Divorce or Separation Agreement
In contrast to mediation in which the parties make the decisions, arbitration is similar to a court proceeding. An independent arbitrator is chosen to review the evidence, including testimony, submitted by the parties and render a binding decision. Mediators attempt to bring the parties together to reach a mutually acceptable modification. An arbitrator makes a decision based on the evidence. Therefore, speak a family lawyer to find out what is right for you.
Asking a Court to Modify a Divorce Agreement
Before resorting to the court process to modify your divorce settlement, think about mediation. Keep in mind that courts are reluctant to make changes to agreements. This is assuming the agreement was fairly and voluntarily reached by the spouses. This is particularly true when there has been full financial disclosure. Further, if each party was represented by a lawyer of his or her own choosing. Further, the court looks for evidence proving a significant change in circumstances since the agreement was made. They will also consider fraud, duress or other issues. Anything that casts doubt on the fairness or voluntariness of the original agreement.