Post-Judgment Modification

Post-judgment Modification or Enforcement of Divorce Agreements

Often there are times when divorced parties need to return to Court so a judge can rule on modifying or enforcing the terms of their divorce agreement. In these situations, access to the Court system is provided by way of filing a post-judgment motion.

There are a wide range of reasons why a party would need to return to Court but the most common are listed below:

Changes in Child Custody or Timesharing Agreement. In many cases there is a necessity to change or modify the child custody or timesharing arrangements that the parties agreed to at the time of their divorce. Remarriage, relocation, changes in employment or the maturation of their children often cause one or both of the parties to acknowledge that a modification of their timesharing arrangement needs to be addressed.

Enforcement of the Divorce Agreement. Unfortunately in some cases, one party will not comply with the terms of the divorce Settlement Agreement or a Court Order. This may concern the non-payment of alimony or child support, payment of equitable distribution, or the transfer of assets or other issues of noncompliance. In order to enforce the terms of the parties’ divorce Agreement or Court Order, it is necessary to file a motion with the Court so a Judge can remedy the situation.

Modification or termination of support. Over the course of time, one or both of the parties may find themselves in a situation where they, through no fault of their own, are earning less than they were at the time of their divorce. Many times this includes situations where a divorced party finds themselves unemployed and unable to meet their child support or alimony obligations. When this occurs, a party should affirmatively seek to modify their existing alimony and child support obligations. Additionally, in most instances, child support Orders are to be re-evaluated as the children mature.

Payment of children's college education expenses. At or about the time their child is a junior in high school, divorced parents need to discuss and address the issue of college attendance and costs. In New Jersey, divorced parents can be held financially responsible for the college education expenses of their children. The courts are empowered to examine and review no less than 12 separate factors and apply each of the factors to the facts of the case. A detailed examination of each of these factors and careful consideration of the divorced parents’ income and the parents’ and child’s assets is required to assess the proportional responsibility for college education.

Emancipation of a child. A child is not conclusively emancipated upon their graduation from high school or reaching the age of 18. Parents are mutually financially responsible for their children until the child is emancipated. The determination as to whether or not a child is emancipated is always fact sensitive. It is a question of when and for what reason the fundamental relationship between a parent and child has ended.

For any of these or other types of Motions to be brought before the Court, careful and thorough consideration must be given to the facts of the case as they relate to the standards imposed by the Court. The Family Law group at Lindabury is skilled and experienced at representing litigants in all post-judgment matters.