Post Divorce Modifications

Just because a divorce is finalized does not mean you are finished working with your ex-spouse. Each of your circumstances will not stay the same thus post divorce changes like legal issues with an ex-spouse can still arise. Most postdivorcechangesbrentwoodlawyeroften, these legal issues will come in the form of contempt of court or a modification of a prior court order.

Parenting Plan Modification

Circumstances are constantly changing, and you may find that, at some point, your parenting plan no longer works for you and your children. When this happens, you can request that the court simply alter your parenting schedule or that they change custody altogether. Simply changing the visitation schedule does not require the same level of proof as requesting a change of custody.

To change custody, you must show that a substantial and material change of circumstances has taken place. This change must be something that was not anticipated and that occurred after the last parenting plan was filed. This must be a large change that is negatively impacting your children.

Once you have proven that a material change of circumstance has occurred, the court will look at what is in the best interest of the children involved.

Before you can have a trial, parenting plans in Tennessee will require that you and the other parent attend mediation to try and work out a new schedule or custody arrangement.

Alimony Modification

Only certain types of alimony are modifiable, and whether they are modifiable may also depend on the terms of your Marital Dissolution Agreement or Final Decree of Divorce. Under some circumstances, you may request that alimony payments be reduced, terminated, increased or lengthened.

Contact our office today to determine whether you might be able to request an alimony modification. Bringing in all documents from your prior court case will be helpful to our office in advising you on your chances of receiving this modification.

Child Support Modification

Tennessee child support is set according to the “income shares” model. This means the income of both parents is taken into consideration when child support is calculated. See our child support page for more information on how child support is calculated in Tennessee.

Either parent may request a modification of child support. A modification will be granted if there is a 15% change in the amount of current support being paid and what the modified support will be.

Contempt

When one party fails to comply with a court order, you may file a petition for either civil or criminal contempt, depending on the circumstances. These petitions are often filed when a party fails to pay spousal support, child support or fails to refinance a piece of property following a divorce.

Filing a petition for contempt is your way of forcing the other party to abide by the rules the court set forth. If held in contempt, the person will be punished and ordered to immediately comply with all court orders. Punishment can include fines, jail time or being required to pay the other party’s attorney fees.

You may also wish to file for contempt if you are being denied parenting time with your children in violation of a court order.

Can I modify my Marital Dissolution Agreement?

No. You cannot file a petition with the court to modify a property settlement. Because a Marital Dissolution Agreement (MDA) is contractual in nature, you may only modify your MDA pursuant to the terms of the agreement itself, which may require that you and your ex-spouse both sign a document with the same formality as the MDA itself.

Parental Relocation

Tennessee law addresses what must be done when one parent decides to relocate outside the state or more than 100 miles away from the other parent within the state. Typically, relocation is the result of a job opportunity or a desire to be close to family and friends.

When parents decide to relocate after a divorce, the court will look at whether the relocating parent has a “reasonable purpose” for moving. They will also consider whether the move will harm the child and if the moving parent has vindictive motives. As with all custody and visitation issues, the judges will also consider what is best for the children involved.

The relocating parent must give notice to the other parent of their intent to move. The notice should include the following:

  • Statement of intent to move
  • The location/address of the proposed new residence
  • Reasons for relocation
  • Statement that the other parent may file a petition opposing the move

This notice must be sent within a certain time frame, and our office will take great care to make certain your statement is drafted and sent properly.

The judge will allow parents to move, but if they find that the relocation is not for a reasonable purpose, the judge can consider a change of custody. Even if the other parent does not object to the relocation, the parents will likely need to work out a new parenting schedule to accommodate the distance between them. Ms. Castles is ready to assist you in this process, and she can represent you in court to either object to or defend relocation.

Ms. Castles is knowledgeable about post-divorce issues and modification. She is ready to advise you on any issues you are facing, and offers her family law services throughout Middle Tennessee, including in Ashland City, Franklin, Nolensville, Gallatin and Dickson.

Let Ms. Castles help you enforce your court order and ensure you are receiving time with your children and the support they deserve.

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