Negotiating a divorce is almost always a complicated and challenging experience. By the time an agreement is accepted by both spouses, all parties may be reluctant to even think about the possibility of modifying the arrangements. Nonetheless, changes are inevitable, and, in all likelihood, circumstances will at some point require modifications of the original divorce agreement. If you reside in New Jersey and have reached such a period, you need the services of an experienced, highly skilled divorce attorney.

This is when contacting Bozanian McGregor LLC is the right move. Our family law attorneys are well-practiced in all areas related to divorce, and eager to help you navigate the logistics of judgment modification. We have an in-depth knowledge of New Jersey law and know precisely how to proceed. Contact us today to feel the confidence that comes from working with a competent, empathic professional.

Defining Divorce Judgment Modification

Divorce judgment modification is the legal process through which one ex-spouse submits a motion requesting a change of specific terms in an existing divorce decree. The motion is a written request asking the court to alter one or more details of the agreement. Notably, not every aspect of a divorce decree can be modified. Generally, the courts will not change property or debt division arrangements.

Common Changes Requested in a Divorce Judgment Modification

Because children are growing and changing at a rapid rate, their needs are likely to require flexibility on the part of their parents. Of course, other circumstances may also warrant modifications. Often, one spouse or the other will have cause to request:

  • Changes in child custody 
  • Changes in visitation/parenting time
  • Changes in child support or alimony 
  • Relocation of the child to another state
  • Emancipation of a child that will end the child support obligation
  • Reimbursement of medical expenses or other special needs costs for a child

Reasons Divorce Judgment Modification May Be Necessary

Many changes may be cited as reasons for changes to the initial divorce decree, including: 

  • Changes in the financial status of a parent resulting from job loss or promotion, significant inheritance or another windfall, illness or injury, natural disaster, or military deployment.
  • Relocation of a parent due to employment or need to be closer to family.  If one parent plans to relocate, especially to a distant location, modifications to child custody and parenting time may be necessary.
  • Changes in a child’s needs due to a medical condition, learning disability, injury, or the discovery of a previously hidden talent may warrant changes in financial support and/or scheduling.
  • Co-parenting challenges involving one parent’s lack of cooperation in meeting the stipulations of the divorce agreement may require enforcement of support or visitation rules.

Necessary Steps to Request a Divorce Judgment Modification

Requiring a divorce judgment modification and obtaining one is not the same thing. Having one of our strong divorce attorneys at your side can make an important difference in terms of taking care of the matter efficiently and decreasing stress. We will assist you in taking the following necessary steps:

  • Self-assessment — to make certain that you don’t waste your time making a significant change to your divorce agreement unless the altered circumstances are definite and long-term.
  • Consultation — with a divorce attorney who knows the nuances of judgment modification laws in New Jersey and can reasonably evaluate the strength of your arguments in terms of potential success.
  • File a Motion — with the help of your divorce attorney who is well aware of all the procedural regulations, including time limits.
  • Serve the Motion — which means making sure that your ex-spouse receives notification of the proposed changes and has a chance to respond.
  • Court Hearing — which will only be necessary if both parties cannot agree to the changes requested

You should be aware that there are deadlines for all legal matters about divorce judgment modifications. Our experienced attorney will make sure you meet them.

Responding to the Motion or Initiating a Cross-Motion

If you are the recipient of a motion for modification from your ex-spouse, you have the right to respond and/or initiate a cross-motion. Whether you are the person who proposed the first change or who is responding, Bozanian McGregor is well-positioned to assist you.

Possible Outcomes of a Judgment Modification Request

In most cases, a judgment modification request is decided by a judge without a court hearing. The judge simply reviews the arguments provided by each party and makes a decision. While either party has the right to request a hearing, the judge has the final say on whether such a hearing is necessary.

There are four possible judicial outcomes:

  • Approval: The court agrees that the suggested action is necessary, especially if the action is deemed in the best interests of the child.
  • Partial approval: The court agrees to only some portion of the requested changes.
  • Denial: The court finds that the change in circumstances is not sufficient to warrant the modification or that the action isn’t in the best interests of the involved parties.
  • Mediation or counseling: The court determines that both parties should attend mediation or counseling sessions before the ruling is made.

Contact Our Experienced Attorney Before Attempting to Modify a Divorce Judgment

Before you initiate a divorce judgment modification or a cross-motion, it is best to consult with a divorce attorney who understands the possible ramifications. Our divorce attorneys have been through similar situations enough times to have a clear understanding of when such a modification is required and advantageous and when it is not. We will help you to make the right decision and guide you as you follow it through.