Your divorce settlement includes at least one order – a property division order. Many divorce settlements also include child custody orders, child support orders, and spousal support orders. These court orders are the requirements that the couple must follow after their divorce is finalized.
One year, five years, and 10 years after your divorce, your life will be a lot different than it was when your divorce was originally finalized. When your life is different, the orders included in your original divorce settlement might no longer be appropriate. Divorce orders are not set in stone, and if you feel your divorce settlement is no longer appropriate for your lifestyle or your children’s needs, you may seek a modification. Your former spouse may seek a modification as well, and you can contest this modification if you feel it is inappropriate. If you are considering seeking a modification or if you need to contest one, work with an experienced family lawyer in Grand Rapids.
Changes to your divorce orders are known as post-divorce modifications. You can modify any of the orders included in your divorce settlement through the court that originally handled your divorce. Generally, your property division order cannot be changed. The only exception to this is when an individual can demonstrate that fraud, duress, or other coercion occurred in the creation of the original division order.
Child support, parenting time, and spousal support orders are far easier to modify because these orders need to change as involved parties’ lives and needs change. A child custody plan created for a toddler is not appropriate for a preteen, and as a child grows, his or her needs and expenses change.
The court does not simply grant a modification any time an individual seeks one. In order to have your modification petition approved, you must demonstrate to the court that the modification is necessary because of your substantially changed circumstances.
Each type of modification can be validated with different circumstances. Circumstances that can justify a change to your child support or spousal support order include:
To modify a custody order, you can demonstrate:
Life is not a static experience. When your changing circumstances make the orders that were entered with your divorce settlement inappropriate or unrealistic, work with an experienced family lawyer to pursue a post-divorce modification. To learn more about post-divorce modifications and determine how to proceed with yours, contact our team at The Van Den Heuvel Law Office today to schedule your initial legal consultation with a member of our firm.