How can I protect my rights after the divorce is final?
No matter if your divorce ended through settlement agreements or by way of a court order decision, it was likely a long and exhausting battle. However, for many divorced individuals, the decisions made by the Family Court may not be acceptable. When this happens, both parties in a divorce may be able to challenge certain things that the Family Court has ruled on and included in the final divorce judgment.
The most common and typically easier way to change certain decisions is to simply ask the court to modify the judgment. This may be useful to change custody arrangements, child support, alimony and visitation schedules. An individual wishing to make these modifications may file a motion to modify with the same court that initially issued the divorce judgment.
This type of modification is useful when new facts and information have been discovered that may directly impact an order set by the Family Court. A motion to modify may also be filed when one spouse’s financial situation has changed that would alter a payment order for child support or alimony.
In rare cases either spouse may appeal a family court’s decision to a higher court. It is not common for a higher court to overturn another court’s decision. However, it has happened. In an appeals case, each party would file a brief or written argument in support or against a modification to the original order. While almost any order made by the Family Court can be appealed, settlement agreements that have been agreed on by both parties cannot be appealed.
Filing a motion for modification of a divorce judgment or related orders may be easier and more successful than filing an appeal. While the decision to take either action is left to either party, speaking to a family law attorney may help identify which route is the best option.