Post-Judgment Issues

Sometimes issues between parties arise after the divorce is completed. It will most certainly depend upon the experience of the parties during the divorce as to how they will handle these post-judgment issues.

There are several types of post-judgment issues that can arise, such as the following.

Enforcement. In New Jersey, all issues that need to be resolved between the parties must be resolved prior to the divorce. Therefore, the parties will either have a Judgment of Divorce with the findings and commands by the judge or the parties have signed an agreement that settles all their marital issues and delineates obligations and responsibilities. If one party does not comply with their obligations, the other party has a right to pursue compliance through the court, if necessary.

Change of Alimony or Child Support. There may be reasons that alimony should be changed when it has either been ordered by the court or there is an agreement in place. A substantial and likely permanent change in circumstances or cohabitation of the payee spouse may create opportunities to modify, suspend or terminate a support obligation.

Custody or Parenting Time. There are times when changes occur in family relationships after the divorce which could possibly warrant a change for the children’s best interests. If parties cannot agree on making appropriate changes, then court involvement may be necessary.

Simply being unhappy with the agreement or the court’s order is not a reason to return to court. Perhaps if a court makes an error in their decision, a party may decide to appeal the decision to a higher court right away. However, it is a well-known fact that when parties make their own agreements, they are more likely to abide by their own decisions. Therefore, it is understandable if the parties required a judge to make the decisions for them, post-judgment conflict is more likely to occur.

Generally, if there is a post-judgment issue(s) that can’t be resolved by the parties themselves, a motion would need to be filed with the court and eventually a judge will decide, possibly after a trial.

Importantly, mediation and the collaborative process are excellent opportunities to avoid court. In fact, many judges now require the parties to attend mediation after these types of motions are filed.

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