After the final divorce decree is issued, both former spouses are expected to abide by its terms. This means observing the child custody schedule, making the necessary payments to complete property division, and keeping up on regular payments like child support and alimony.
But this does not mean that a divorced person has no way of changing a part of the decree after it has been issued. Sometimes, something in the decree may feel bizarre or unfair. Or, as the years pass, parts of it might no longer fit. Changes in circumstances may make it impossible to keep up financial obligations.
This can be especially true when it comes to child custody. An arrangement that made sense 10 years ago may no longer work for one or both parents, or the children for that matter. Common reasons for one or both exes to seek a custody modification include:
- One parent’s job has transferred him or her out of state, or he or she is moving to a new state to look for work.
- One parent has lost his or her job and cannot afford to care for the children.
- The children have gotten old enough to have input about how much time they spend with each parent, and scheduling matters.
No matter what the reason, post-divorce modifications are often possible. The issue may be resolvable through mediation or negotiation, saving everyone time and money. Or if the dispute is more contentious, the parents can have a judge decide whether or not to grant the modification or keep things as they are.