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.