For most people, getting to the end of the entire divorce or dissolution process is a huge relief. The judge has finally ordered the separation between husband and wife, the property has been divided, and all issues surrounding children have been settled.
Many times after the divorce is over and things calm down, the parties decide they want to or need to change the agreement the judge ordered. This is called a post-decree matter.
While it’s ok to change the arrangement between you and your ex-spouse, it is crucial to get the agreement in writing and signed off on by a judge.
If you don’t reduce your new agreement to writing, there are two problems that can occur: contempt and the inability to enforce the agreement.
Contempt of court is never a good thing. It means you have done something in contravention of a court order, and you will be held accountable for it. If the only agreement you and your ex-spouse have in writing is the original divorce decree, any act done in opposition to that order can be considered contempt. Agreeing to different parenting time or property division is fine, but if something happens and tensions flare, your ex-spouse can go to the court. When the judge sees you are acting in a way different that the divorce decree, you can be held in contempt.
Similarly, if you are the one wanting to enforce the new agreement against your ex-spouse, you have no grounds to do so if you only have an oral agreement. The court will only check to see that your ex-spouse is following the order in the divorce decree, and you will have no further recourse.
Divorce and post-decree matters can be tricky, so it’s best to arm yourself with an attorney to make sure you understand all of the implications involved. Dailey Law Offices has extensive experience in the domestic relations arena. We offer free initial consultations, and you can schedule yours by calling us today!