Time for a Divorce Tune-Up?

An annual check-in with your attorney may give you peace of mind

Your divorce is final, and you’re ready to move onto your new life. But don’t delete your family law attorney’s contact information from your phone just yet.

After your divorce is final, there are many aspects of that agreement that cannot be altered. But your divorce decree should be examined regularly to make sure there’s nothing that needs to be acted upon or updated. If you haven’t consulted your divorce agreement in a while, it might be time to dust it off and have another look.

Here’s a check-list of items to consider when reviewing your divorce agreement:

Have you followed through on the terms?

Frequently, a divorce agreement sets up a to-do list for you and your ex. To avoid unpleasant surprises, make sure you follow through. Was real estate sold within the required period allotted, or is more time needed? Has a quit claim deed been filed for the property that is to be deeded to you? When applicable, has your name been taken off the mortgage or other loans? Have credit cards been cancelled or have credit companies been informed of name and/or address changes? Review your divorce papers to ensure you’ve enacted all the changes that were set in motion by your divorce.

Is your spouse struggling to pay child support or alimony?

Career changes, injury or illness, or other unexpected set-backs can derail even the most well-meaning parent. No matter the reason, failure to live up to the agreed upon terms of your divorce should be documented appropriately. You may be reluctant to be litigious in tough times, but sometimes that can be the only way to protect the financial interests at stake.

Have you experienced a substantial life change?

Although asset division is final and can’t be modified after a divorce, as children age, incomes increase or decrease, parents move or remarry, the terms of custody, support and alimony may need to be revisited. Child custody, child support, and periodic alimony payments can all be subject to modification at any time that there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances. Your family law attorney can advise you as to if a life change has implications on your custody, alimony or child support.

Under the best circumstances, a divorce agreement can be written, but never followed so long as you and your former spouse are able to agree on an alternate path. But if you can’t, and you find yourself facing unforeseen changes or bumps in the road that may impact your welfare or that of your kids, it is a good time to check in with your divorce attorney. Even if you don’t think anything in your life has changed to impact your agreement, meeting with your family law attorney for an annual check-in can help you anticipate (or even avoid) future challenges. Taking time to review your agreement on regular basis can also give you peace of mind today and into the future.