A divorce does not necessarily mean the end of discord between you and your former spouse. Although you have dissolved your legal relationship and hopefully moved on emotionally, you might have continuing obligations to each other.
If you and your former spouse disagree about spousal support or an issue relating to your children, seek a qualified divorce attorney’s help. In many cases, working with a legal professional can help you resolve your disagreement without going back to court. If necessary, an Atlanta, GA post-divorce disputes lawyer can represent you in legal action if one of you seeks judicial intervention to modify or enforce a divorce-related court order.
Georgia family courts weigh whether to modify an order based on different factors related to the topic of the dispute.
As children get older, their needs change. An eight-year-old might enjoy spending every weekend with a non-custodial parent, but a thirteen-year-old might have other activities they prefer to do. Modifying the parenting plan to allow the child to participate in preferred activities while assuring the non-custodial parent still gets parenting time might be appropriate.
Judges consider any change that will affect children in terms of whether it serves the children’s best interests. Even when you and your co-parent agree on a modification and submit it to family court for approval, a judge might reject it if it is not in the children’s best interests. A knowledgeable attorney can discuss the factors a judge must consider when determining the children’s best interests.
According to the Official Code of Georgia § 19-9-3a (5), a child 14 or older can select the parent they prefer to live with. If the child’s decision requires a change in the parenting plan, that fact represents a substantial change in circumstances, and the parents can seek a modification. A court will generally comply with the child’s wishes unless the court finds that living with the parent the child chooses is not in the child’s best interests.
Orders imposing financial obligations on one or both parties often require modification when the parties’ circumstances change. Either party can request changes in the orders governing child support and spousal support.
If less than two years have passed since the court last issued an order on the subject, the party requesting the modification must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances that led to the request. Some circumstances that might merit modifying a recent order include:
Many other situations could justify a request to modify an order. An adept Atlanta, GA attorney is prepared to help individuals handle a variety of post-divorce disputes.
If a former spouse is not complying with divorce orders, it is possible to bring a motion to hold them in contempt. If the judge grants a contempt motion, the non-compliant spouse might receive a fine, face an order to comply in the future, and be forced to pay the other spouse’s attorney’s fees and court costs. In some cases, the judge puts a non-compliant spouse in jail.
The party bringing the contempt motion must prove the non-compliant spouse is willfully failing to adhere to the judge’s order. A spouse subject to a contempt hearing could defend themselves by demonstrating why they cannot comply. In that case, a judge might modify an order.
The decision to seek a contempt order is complex and has far-reaching implications. A post-divorce disputes attorney in Atlanta, GA can explain the risks and benefits of bringing a motion to find a party in contempt of family court.
If you and your spouse disagree about fundamental issues after your divorce, you might need to take legal action. An Atlanta, GA post-divorce disputes lawyer can represent your interests, whatever your position on the current orders might be. Call today to speak with a qualified member of our team.