For many people, going through a divorce is the most stressful time of their lives. Divorce is not only a legal matter; it is also an emotional and financial matter as well. That said, when a divorce is finally completed, a judge will hand down a divorce decree. Essentially, a divorce decree is a legal document that formally recognizes all terms of a couple’s divorce. Terms regarding child support, child custody, spousal support, and property distribution will all be included in this document. That said, if months or years have elapsed since your divorce, but your current situation in life no longer accurately reflects the terms set out in your divorce decree, you may wonder whether you can modify or update your divorce terms. Fortunately, in some cases, you can through what’s known as a post-judgment modification. Please continue reading and reach out to a knowledgeable Bergen County family law attorney from McNerney & McAuliffe to learn more about post-judgment modifications in New Jersey and whether you may qualify for one.
What is a post-judgment modification and how do I know if I will qualify for one?
The first thing you should understand is that not every minor change, and even some major changes will qualify for a post-judgment modification. To get a modification to your initial divorce decree, you must prove that you’ve undergone a significant and unforeseen change in circumstances. Some examples of scenarios that may qualify for modifications to child custody, child support, or alimony terms are as follows:
- Child custody: There are several circumstances that may warrant a modification to a child custody agreement. For example, if one parent develops a substance abuse issue, is a threat to the child, or can no longer look out for their child’s best interests, the other parent may request a modification to get full custody of the child.
- Alimony: When a spouse receiving alimony gets a higher paying job, gets remarried, or otherwise comes into a large sum of money, the spouse paying alimony may request a reduction in or termination of the alimony agreement. Additionally, if one spouse pays alimony but loses their job or develops a costly medical condition, it may also qualify for a post-judgment modification.
- Child support: When a child reaches the age of emancipation, it should trigger the end of child support, unless the child has special needs, in which case the parent receiving support can request an extension.
If you believe you may qualify for a modification or you have any other divorce-related questions, please don’t hesitate to speak with a skilled Bergen County divorce attorney from our legal team.
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