If a divorce action can be characterized as a rollercoaster of sorts, what often occurs after a divorce is settled can be likened to a carousel of never-ending litigation. As many divorced individuals know all too well, enforcement/contempt applications are the most common filings after a divorce is settled. This is especially true in circumstances involving support obligations, parenting time and other custodial issues. Other post-divorce applications involve modifications of the terms of the divorce judgment based upon a change in circumstances. These applications often involve upward or downward modifications in connection with a child support obligation or a change in the custodial arrangement.
Generally, after a divorce is settled, and after sufficient time has passed, parties will settle into their new normal and lose the hostile agenda they may have pursued during the litigation. Sometimes not. It is these cases, where the parties’ relationship continues to be strained and contentious, that post-judgment issues will likely arise. In that event, the importance of filing a timely petition is critical, as the relief awarded will only be retroactive to the date the application is filed.
Clearly, unending court proceedings are not pleasant; are often costly and are not something most people want to spend their time with. Thus, the importance of forging a cooperative relationship, involving open communication and flexibility with your former spouse cannot be overstated. When this is not possible, the keeping of meticulous notes regarding non-payment and circumstances (ie – missed visitations, communication issues regarding the children, etc) warranting the need for modification, is critical to a successful petition.