What to Do After a Divorce in Finalized

Posted by Josh Valentine | Apr 11, 2019

If you have recently been divorced, you likely still have adjustments to make in your life. You may have become used to a certain routine with your ex-spouse, and now that has all changed. Now you need to figure out how to move on and adjust.

You may be contemplating what to do months or even years after you have been granted a divorce. If your ex is not following the terms of your agreement or divorce decree, you may wonder if you will need to take them back to court. 

Immediately After Divorce

Immediately after a divorce, you will need to make sure that you take care of updating your insurance policies, retirement accounts, bank accounts, credit cards, and estate plan. The last thing you want after a divorce is to find out that your ex is still taking advantage of you financially. You may not want your former spouse to be the decision maker if you become incapacitated, which may be specified in your estate plan.  

Review any important documents on financial accounts and make changes right after the divorce. This may include getting your name changed on your official records by taking your decree to your local DMV office to get a new ID issued. You may also need to take care of any refinancing of debts that were previously owed with your spouse. 

Reopening a Divorce Case

If your former spouse is refusing to follow the terms you agreed to in a settlement or that the judge ordered after a hearing, you may need to reopen your case. Refusal to pay child support or interference with visitation are considered very serious violations of a prior decree. 

If your former spouse is not abiding by the terms of the decree, consider whether or not the issue was a one-time deviation that was reasonable or if the refusal to follow court orders was willful. If the case involves an issue like failure to pay their share of medical bills, make sure that they have received a copy of any bills you expect them to pay. This can make your case stronger later if you need to reopen the case and request a judicial review.

Material Changed Circumstances

If your case involves child custody, any prior court orders will remain in place unless a judge signs a modification. A judge will not modify a previous order unless you can demonstrate there has been a significant change since the entry of the last order. Remember that a court's duty is to enforce previous orders and make any changes as needed. Any old issues that are brought up probably will not be re-litigated. 

Examples of changed circumstances include the following:

  • Moving to a different location, especially different state
  • A substantial change in income
  • Remarriage by one or both parties
  • Any situation that could affect the health, safety, or welfare of minor children     

Speak to an attorney if you feel that you need a court to make changes to prior orders or enforce previous orders. If you wait too long to act, that could weaken your case. 

Contact an Experienced Attorney in North Carolina

Do you have questions about what to do now that your divorce is finalized, or do you need changes made to your final decree? Contact the experienced family law attorneys at Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC by filling out our online form or call (704) 470-2440. 

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar