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Can Divorce Agreement be Amended after Divorce is Final

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thishurts123 posted 4/8/2021 21:39 PM

I am getting the sense that XWH wants to amend our agreement with regard to alimony and/or child support. The divorce was final two years ago next month. We both live in different states - neither in the state where the divorce was finalized. Can he do that? Has anyone had a similar situation? Any insight is appreciated.

thatbpguy posted 4/8/2021 21:46 PM

I know in my state it can be up to one year.

Ratpicker posted 4/8/2021 22:15 PM

Generally an amendment would be an agreement between the two parties to a change from original decree.

A modification is sought by one party without an agreement by the other party. A reduction in child support or alimony would be a modification. A motion is filed with the court requesting a modification. If neither party still resides in the area where divorce took place, then it may need to be domesticated at current jurisdiction of residence first.

gmc94 posted 4/8/2021 22:23 PM

I believe (tho not 100% certain) that child support is modifiable in every state. When you were D in state 1,and now live in states 2 & 3, the issue on that front would be which state has jurisdiction (and it's usually wherever the kids are). So, your XH could likely file a motion to modify in whatever state the children live.

Alimony can vary a lot from state to state, and modifying that could be much trickier.

The1stWife posted 4/9/2021 07:08 AM

He can try to make changes to anything at any time. Doesn’t mean he will win or get the amounts lowered.

Keep your attorney up to speed on everything. You may need the legal representation.

Catwoman posted 4/9/2021 07:17 AM

If he petitions for a modification, he is going to have to prove a change of circumstance. This can be anything from one child aging out of child support, to his income changing, your income changing, etc.

I would check who has jurisdiction--this is tricky since neither of you lives in the original jurisdiction. I'd get out ahead of this as much as I could.

Cat

thishurts123 posted 4/20/2021 18:45 PM

Thanks for the replies. I have not heard anything official yet from either a lawyer, court or XWH. He's a sneaky little bastard so he'd be the last one to tell me of a change. I don't have a lawyer from D as we mediated. So far I'm just researching on my end to see what I may be up against. I didn't want to get a lawyer yet because of the cost. He has moved on to his new life/family and is feeling $$ pinch I'm sure since our eldest kids are in college and he's agreed to pay tuition. Not sure the new SO likes that. It just never ends does it?

BetrayedGamer posted 4/21/2021 12:08 PM

I'm basing this off of a CO divorce, but I'm going through one now without lawyers as well. I do worry about her decisions changing, even though she's signed everything so far.

One thing I've noticed is that every piece of the divorce paperwork that legalizes a "promise" from the other has a section where either two signatures are required, or there's a section that certifies the other person has been served. So it seems to me, even in a divorce without lawyers, that one party cannot really "blindside" the other legally, as all the important forms seem to have checks and balances involved to prevent that.

gmc94 posted 4/21/2021 17:40 PM

ThisHurts - do you still have kids at home? And are they with you or with XWH?

Does the kid(s) in college and still getting support (even if "only" tuition) use your address as the "permanent" one or XWH's?

I suspect that in most states XWH would be hard pressed to try and get out of the tuition.
Courts & judges - GENERALLY - speaking, don't want to screw kids out of college unless there's pretty strong evidence of an economic imbalance (like you make a lot more $ than XWH). And XWH having roughly the same income as at the time of D, but the dollars don't go as far bc he's supporting new woman/kids would not count in my state. HOWEVER, if you got a huge promotion and he didn't, that could work against you.

And for the record, FUCK those women who go after the ex-wife and child support. I've not personally had to deal with that, but I've seen it a LOT and I clearly have a pretty strong opinion about it. The shitshow of infidelity has prompted me to look at women, and the way they screw each other over for a man, with a new lens of rage. The same women who go on & on about "equality" and "breaking the patriarchy" and then have no effing problem taking food out of a kid's mouth (or books from their dorm) bc they don't like the ex-wife can kiss my arse.

WornDown posted 4/22/2021 09:05 AM

See what Catwoman said.

Child support $ get modified all the time due to the "change in circumstances" bar being met by a child aging out, parent job change, etc.

Alimony is much tougher. There are (generally, depends on your state) very specific things that must have happened in order to modify alimony.

I learned with my ex, that until I got an actual piece of paper from a court for a hearing on TOPIC A, I just ignored her bluster as an attempt to get me to do what she wanted. NEVER did I get anything other than her threats. YMMV

Comment:

I suspect that in most states XWH would be hard pressed to try and get out of the tuition.
Courts & judges - GENERALLY - speaking, don't want to screw kids out of college unless there's pretty strong evidence of an economic imbalance (like you make a lot more $ than XWH).

Actually, most states support stops when the child turns 18 and/or graduates HS. College has zero to do with it. Some states DO take into account if the child is a college student, but most do not.

And forcing someone to pay for tuition is even less likely (unless agreed to prior by the two parties...but then that's a contract dispute, not child support).

gmc94 posted 4/22/2021 09:42 AM

WornDown- what you write may be accurate in your state, but it is absolutely not in mine. It really depends on the state, which is why which state has jurisdiction at this point matters to OP's original questions.

As to CS, several states continue CS past age 18 (including mine). It's a question of how the "new" state (and which of the states the 2 parents live in will have jurisdiction) works.

As to maintenance, I'm pretty sure that jurisdiction to modify that would remain in the "old" state, which means the parties could have to litigate in the old state (on maintenance) and the new state (as to CS).

As to tuition, when tuition is part of the D decree, the remedies for failure to abide by that decree are the same as if one spouse didn't pay any other aspect of the judgment -and I think that full faith & credit/reciprocity issues would be problematic for "new" state to modify the old state's decree WRT tuition, any more than any other aspect of the property settlement.

thishurts123 posted 4/22/2021 17:32 PM

gmc94 - yes our three children live with me. Two are in college (living home/commuting) and one in HS that is special needs. My CS was not supposed to change even as the older ones aged out (21) due to my youngest having to live with me beyond age 21 (doubtful she'd ever be able to live alone). My guess is maybe new woman got his ear about reducing CS as they reach age 21. He also pays half college tuition as per our agreement. It's a wait and see for now it seems.

And I agree with you 100% about how women screw each other over men. I've never met her and neither has my children - well one did once and that was a shit show (long story for another time). What gets me is that every time I think I can move on and be civil he pulls some stunt that shuts me down again. It's happened several times already and it's only been two years since D was finalized. UGH.

Thanks again for all the information.

WornDown posted 4/22/2021 19:38 PM

WornDown- what you write may be accurate in your state, but it is absolutely not in mine. It really depends on the state,

Yeah...That's exactly what I said.

But it is most definitely NOT the norm. "Several" is not a majority, nor is it all.

gmc94 posted 4/22/2021 20:35 PM

This hurts- a child with special needs adds another dimension. IME courts won’t change that CS absent some really serious basis (like WH has a heart attack and is unable to work at all)

Worn down- hence the term “several” and not “most” or “majority” WRT CS

And from OP’s last post, it certainly appears that her original decree was in one of those “several” states that provide for CS beyond age 18.

My original comment, using “most” was WRT tuition (not CS), which it appears you realize is not the same

Ratpicker posted 4/22/2021 21:07 PM

The states that can require non-custodial parent to continue to pay child support for children extending to college tuition and expenses in part or in whole. The college costs will be in addition to continued child support for as long as they are enrolled in college in some of these states.

Alabama, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

Laws change frequently, but usually the law that was in effect at the time of divorce will be upheld. I've found it odd that college costs are included in those states but not costs for technical school.

When my brother was divorced in Illinois, state law required that each parent would be responsible for 1/3 college tution to the extent of in-state college tution rates. Student responsible for 1/3. In Georgia when I was divorced, the court could not order child support (or college costs) beyond age 18 or HS graduation. But parents who came to their own agreement could include it. Special needs children were an exception.

thishurts123 posted 4/29/2021 17:00 PM

Update - XWH called to tell me he's broke. He had contacted a divorce attorney to get our agreement amended and was told it wouldn't happen. He has had no change in status (lost job or reduced involuntary salary), Barring any increase in my income (there is none and he knows this) the agreement stands.

All that to say, he wants me to voluntarily reduce my monthly alimony for the next two years - until college is done. I politely declined. He was flabbergasted. He truly thought I'd agree. My reply was simply that my bills were not decreasing and I used that money to support our children. I don't separate alimony/child support. It all goes into my household budget. I know I should separate it but for now this works.

Needless he's furious with me; I'm just being a "retaliatory bitch" and he's glad he left. LOL. He forgets I threw him out. He never ceases to amaze me and not in a good way. He still acts like we are married and I have to bail him out. I suggested he ask his new SO for a loan. With that he hung up on me lol.

Surely this is not the end - he will regroup in some way. My next best guess is he'll start reducing what he sends me thinking I won't do anything about it. Hopefully he remembers who I am - I'll get an attorney in our old state and put a stop to that. It is exhausting!

Thanks again or all the feed back. You are all so kind!

Ratpicker posted 4/29/2021 20:11 PM

Thishurts - now you know what was up his sleeve and that he got shut down. And now you know telling him to go ask his SO will get him to shut up & hang up. Seems you are all set.

Hope that settles it and he doesn't try to reduce his obligations to you and kids.

Phoenix1 posted 4/29/2021 21:29 PM

Do you have your CS going thru the state CS office? Some states will do that for alimony as well.

I ask because if he tries to pay less, they will go after him. Saves you the hassle.

The1stWife posted 4/30/2021 00:25 AM

In my state if you owe CS they will revoke your drivers license, throw you in jail, etc.

Then the state steps in and garnishes paychecks to pay what is owed.

If judgements are entered for CS it shows up on your credit support. And that affects your insurance and housing and ability to get loans etc.

gmc94 posted 4/30/2021 00:57 AM

I'll get an attorney in our old state and put a stop to that.
Have you reached out to the atty you used in the D? I know that's a hassle & $$, but it may be wise to check in and see what they think about jurisdiction and enforcement.

If everyone still lived in the state that issued the decree, this would be a no brainer. If you were still in divorce state, or you and Xhole both lived in the same (new) state, it would be easier. But everyone being in different states adds dimensions that could be tricky.

some states are notorious havens for dead beat exes, but most others will intercept taxes, garnish wages, take bank accounts, etc.

You may need to register your divorce judgment in your current state (and maybe where Xhole is too, I can't remember offhand) so that the MINUTE he is "late" as defined by the state with jurisdiction, you can take action (e.g., in my state, they have to be 1 month behind, so if he owes $100/mo and starts to only pay $90/mo, it would take 10 months before he's at that "one month" of back support owed, and during that 10 months, you are still being shorted). IOW, having your ducks in a row beforehand could save $$ in the long run (not to mention YOU being broke bc you have to go thru the court's processes while he's not paying).

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