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Modifying your agreement post-divorce

Life changes all the time. If your divorce was finalized when your children were very young, the parenting plan, child support, and other aspects of the agreement are going to be in force for a decade or longer. New jobs, new living arrangements, and even a new city you live in are all good reasons to go back and revisit the agreement.

Revising your agreement is not too difficult if both parties agree easily. But the process is the same as creating it in the first place, so it should not be entered into lightly. If you have a good reason to modify the agreement a good family law attorney can get it done.

What do you need?

Before you begin the process of negotiation, it’s important to know exactly what you are asking. The life changes you are experiencing need to be boiled down to specific consequences for your relationship to your ex spouse and children.

For example, losing your high-paying job and taking a different one is not enough. Before you might file a request for lower child support, you have to prepare a complete budget based on your lower salary to show that there is indeed a hardship created by the existing agreement. It’s a standing court order that is not simply adjusted along with your income.

If you are moving out of the area and need a significant change in visitation, such as a monthly schedule rather than a daily one, you need to specify just what you think might work before you enter negotiations. The more specific you can be about your needs, the better.

Best interests of the child

Remember, the standards for all court decisions have not changed one bit. Everything is judged by in the perspective of the best interests of the child.

If you are contemplating life changes it may seem natural to focus on what you have to do to keep your life together. The courts will want to know just what that means for children much more than anything. Keep your attention on their needs when formulating exactly what you need to have changed in your divorce agreement.

A high standard

The other thing to keep in mind is that a post judgment modification to a divorce agreement has to be a significant change or based on an agreement between both parties. That usually means at least a ten percent change in child support, as one example.

Know where you stand

The most important part of all of this is to know exactly how your life changes will impact your children and what your rights are. A family law attorney with experience in these matters can get you through the process, no matter how difficult the original agreement was to arrange. If the circumstances have changed significantly it’s important to keep your agreement up to date.

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