The divorce is finalized; the ties have been severed; and the dust has settled. It’s been hard, but after all the legal turmoil and emotional trauma, the ex-spouses can at least rest assured that they won’t have to go back to court. Unless they do.
Is it possible to be forced back into court after a divorce has been finalized? The short answer is, yes. Divorce decisions are meant to be final, but there may be cause to modify them.
Reasons to Go Back to Court After a Divorce Has Been Finalized
Issues regarding spousal support may need to be modified after a divorce is finalized. Perhaps an ex-spouse has had a change of income and needs to ask for a new ruling based on this change. One ex-spouse may be unwilling or unable to meet payments, so the other may need to file for a motion to enforce. When spousal support needs to be altered or enforced, the courts will be involved.
Custody rulings are meant to be in favor of the child’s best interest. The exact definition of “best interest” varies from state to state, but it generally refers to the physical and mental care of the child. When a parent becomes “unfit” to raise a child, it’s time to go back to court to reevaluate child custody.
A parent may be considered unfit if they cannot meet the needs of the child, if they are found to be abusive, or if they are abusing substances. If an ex-spouse fears that the other is unfit, they can contact Child Welfare Services, and the court may appoint a child custody evaluator to observe and make recommendations to the court. A court may also need to create a new ruling in the event that an ex-spouse is noncompliant with prior court rulings.
If a change-of-life event occurs, such as a parent moving to a new location, it may also be time for the court to consider new child custody rulings.
Less often, a court may need to make a new ruling regarding property after a divorce. If debt had been split between former partners, and one of those partners has become noncompliant in keeping up with payments, the court may need to get involved again. A new ruling may also be needed if an ex-spouse is found to have concealed assets.
Yes, it is possible to go back to family court even after a divorce has been finalized, but it won’t normally be necessary unless one of the partners has had a major life change or if one of the partners has become non-compliant in the original court orders.
If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you need to return to court after your divorce has been finalized, we are here to help. Consultations are free and there’s no risk involved, so call today at (303) 647-4245 or contact us online.