Once your divorce is final and the Judgment of Divorce is signed and in your hands, it would be natural for you to breathe a sigh of relief, and to assume that your worries are over. Though you should take a moment to appreciate what you have accomplished, unfortunately, in many cases, the Judgment of Divorce is not the end of the road.
First, you may need to tie up loose ends to effectuate the terms of your Settlement Agreement or Judgment. For instance, if you or your ex-spouse have retirement assets that need to be divided up, an order known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is necessary to complete that process. If you and your ex-spouse own real estate, the property will likely need to be sold or title will need to be transferred to remove the property from your joint names. That might also require refinancing, so that only one of you remains responsible for a mortgage debt.
Besides these loose ends, it is often necessary to seek legal assistance to change or enforce your Settlement Agreement or Judgment of Divorce. For instance, if your ex-spouse stops paying alimony or child support, you will need to file a post-judgment motion with the Court to enforce that obligation and protect your rights. If you have fallen upon hard financial times and want to try to reduce your alimony or child support obligations, that also requires a post-judgment motion to modify your Settlement Agreement or Judgment of Divorce to reduce those payments. If your Settlement Agreement or Judgment of Divorce establishes the parameters for child custody, and you or your ex-spouse do not agree on changes to these schedules, a Court order is necessary.
Family law issues are complicated, if you need help tying up the loose ends from your divorce, or if you think that a post-judgment action is necessary, contact the experienced and compassionate lawyers in Cohn Lifland’s Family Law Group.