Post-Divorce Attorney in Morristown, New Jersey
As your children grow older or circumstances in your life change, you may wish to renegotiate the terms of your divorce, including alimony, child support, custody, or parenting. Post-divorce mediation can help you negotiate new terms that are fair and equitable and suit your new circumstances.
Post-divorce mediation can be the most cost-effective and appropriate approach to resolving your issues. By mediating, you can:
Protect your relationship with your former spouse, and
Protect your children from acrimony
Mediation promotes effective communication and cooperation, both of which reduce pressure and nurture the family.
Post-Divorce Mediation When Life Changes
Life changes after divorce. You or your former spouse may get a new job, meet a new partner, get married, or want to move to another state. You or your former spouse may undergo a drastic change in income, or even retire.
When life changes, the amount of spousal support or child support may need to be adjusted accordingly. Post-divorce mediation – instead of expensive and potentially damaging litigation — is a superior alternative.
Families are living entities, changing and evolving over time. Many issues that arise are pragmatic in nature and best resolved by the parties themselves. Rather than filing a motion with the court and receiving a judgment you may not like, post-divorce mediation allows parties to discuss potential changes and arrive at an agreement that suits them both. In mediation, both parties work together and discuss, modify, amend, or develop an addendum to their agreement. This new writing can serve as guidance moving forward.
Post Divorce Mediation Can Be Critical when One Party Wants to Move out Of State
Relocation sought in court can be an arduous post-divorce experience. Relocation is among the most difficult issues family courts are asked to decide. Post-divorce mediation can be a better venue to analyze the choices available to families when a move will affect parenting time and even custody.
Post-Divorce Mediation May Be Necessary as Children Age
The needs of a family with an infant contrast dramatically with the needs of a family with middle-school-age, teenage, or college-age children. Many issues that arise can make a change to the divorce agreement necessary. For instance, if a child is struggling in his school, it may be best for the child to switch to another school with additional resources, thus requiring an adjustment to the agreed-upon parenting and custody arrangement.
Whereas judges do not have the time or resources (nor is it their role) to sit with the parties for extended periods and evaluate their situations before helping generate a variety of solutions, that is precisely the mediator’s job. Post-divorce mediation is often a constructive process that considers the needs of all parties. It can address issues that may not rise to the level of legal issues to be brought before a court but are nonetheless of crucial importance to your family. Such issues may include disparate parenting styles, introducing a new adult figure to the children, or challenges facing one of your children.
No One Can See the Future
Because it is impossible for anyone to know how the circumstances of a family will change with time, post-divorce mediation is often necessary. If your situation has changed and you are ready to work out the issues with your spouse, click here to contact us for a free consultation today.
If the occasion arises when your existing Settlement Agreement must be altered to reflect changed circumstances, a divorce modification may be necessary, and we can help. Click here to learn more about divorce modification documents and other legal documents associated with divorce mediation.
Regardless of whether we performed your original mediation, if post-divorce issues have arisen and you require a Modification Agreement (amendment to the original Settlement), we can assist you in mediating changes and then writing up and filing these changes on your behalf.
Common reasons for modifications include changes in child custody, relocation of either parent, termination of a nesting arrangement in favor of another parenting plan, or a change in support due to a significant change in circumstances (such as a change in income, employment, or health).
Why You Might Need a Divorce Modification Agreement
Although small changes in your parenting or custody methods can generally be handled between the parties, substantial changes to the Settlement Agreement often necessitate a divorce modification. A modification can be created through mediation, allowing parties to flesh out the entire modification before drafting a formal agreement and submitting it to the court.
If one or both parties have a significant change in their life circumstances, like getting a new job or moving to a different state, a divorce modification is crucial. By drafting an addendum, you can protect yourself and ensure that necessary changes are enforceable by the court. By doing this in mediation, we can evaluate how one change may affect other tenants of the agreement. For example, a substantial change in parenting time may necessitate an adjustment in child support. After running these calculations with you, we help you determine if it is reasonable to implement a change.
When considering discussing a divorce modification with your former spouse, it can be helpful to work with a mediator who can help you consider the implications and effects of the changes, and if necessary, draft an amendment or addendum to your original agreement.
Divorce Modification and Nesting
If You’ve Entered Into a Nesting Agreement — Where Your Children Live in The Marital Home and You and Your Spouse Rotate in And out According to Your Parenting Schedule — You Will Likely Require a Modification when Your Arrangement Ends.
Although “nesting” is not for everyone (it usually necessitates the marital home and two additional residences, requiring substantial resources), it can be an excellent temporary, transitional solution for families.
Nesting can be minimally disruptive to children as they remain in one home, usually the marital home in which they previously lived, and the adults bear the responsibility for changing residences. During mediation, a nesting agreement is one of several different housing arrangements we can discuss.
When a divorce modification concerns the termination of a nesting arrangement, various facets of the original agreement will require adjustment. Common provisions that will need to be adapted include child and spousal support.
Divorce Modification and Equitable Divorce
When an important change is made to a custody or parenting schedule, the original agreement may not be as equitable as it was previously. A divorce modification would address this and adjust the terms to ensure that all parties, particularly the children, receive what they need to thrive.
In most cases, the changes were neither contemplated nor foreseen at the time the Stipulation of Settlement Agreement or Property Settlement Agreement was signed. Families and lives are dynamic and even the most thoughtful agreement cannot account for the limitless directions life may take us. A divorce modification agreement articulates the new circumstances and recalibrates the other terms of the agreement so that it is fair to all parties given the new circumstances.
To learn more about post-divorce mediation, click here.
Or, if you want to talk more during a free phone consultation about how mediation can simplify the process of getting a divorce modification agreement, click here.
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Modification of Child Support in NJ & NY
Modification of child support in NJ or in NY can often be indicated when one or both parents experience a change in their life circumstances, or if there are changes with one or more of the children. Some parents also opt to review child support every two years or so, or according to their state’s recommendations or mandates. Parents with fluid circumstances – such as those early in their careers or just transitioning from professional training into the workforce where their incomes will vary – may wish to review child support with greater regularity. Some might be parents with young children, whose needs will continue to evolve as they grow, at times affecting the financial support required.
Here are several examples of circumstances that would warrant a child support review and potential modification of child support in NJ or NY:
The parties agreed to a regular review as advised in state law or otherwise in their divorce agreement
A parent’s employment status changed
A parent’s income increased or decreased
A parent remarried
A child begins engaging in an expensive extracurricular activity
A child requires significant academic assistance
A child evidences the need for emotional, behavioral or developmental support not contemplated in the original agreement and requires funding
A parent is seeking to relocate
Changes like these and the support ramifications are best handled through mediation. When there is a serious change in the living situation (your children are spending much more time with you or your spouse than before, for example), then modification of child support may be warranted.
We always begin in child-centered mediation with consideration of your children, and child support modification in NJ may be warranted if the current arrangements require a change.
Modification of Child Support in NJ Doesn’t Have to Be an Entire Modification
Depending on the significance and impact of the change, a complete, written modification may not be necessary. For example, if a parent moves residences without adding significantly to travel time or affecting the custody arrangement, nothing may need be addressed in writing. However, in New York and New Jersey, where congestion (and jug handles) can augment regular travel time, a move of even a few miles further from the other parent’s residence can significantly impact a shared custody arrangement and thus child support. When children are sharing time between residences, the distance between the homes can be an important factor and can increase stress and strain, especially on young children.
Other changes in circumstance over time may also warrant a modification of child support in NJ and NY. Arrangements that worked seamlessly during infancy may no longer be operative once your child enters school.
All these issues can be negotiated, and an addendum to the original agreement can be filed with the court as necessary.
However, mediation can mitigate and often eliminate the need for any substantial court involvement. If you’re looking for a modification of child support in NJ or NY, working through the issues in mediation can help avoid the need to petition the court for intervention.
Mediation always considers the dynamic nature of child rearing and addresses custody and support arrangements accordingly. A modification of child support in NJ or NY can always be revisited if things need to be tweaked or adjusted.
Completing a Detailed Analysis of A Proposed Modification of Child Support in NJ & NY Can Help Determine the Best Course of Action
For these sometimes difficult cases, mediation proceeds thoughtfully, evaluating each factor involved, before arriving at an appropriate modification of child support. When all the variables have been analyzed, we can adopt a modification that is agreeable to all parties and addresses the specific needs of your children.
Child Custody Modification
Sometimes divorced parents find that their child custody agreement needs to be amended. Child custody modifications can be best handled with a trained mediator, and many families find that mediation makes modifying the child custody agreement simpler, faster, and, ultimately, more agreeable than going through traditional litigation channels.
As families grow and develop, child custody modification can sometimes be necessary to address new circumstances and situations. We always put the needs of the children first whenever we approach a child custody modification situation.
We know your life is evolving and your custody schedule could require change for a myriad of reasons. A new job requiring travel, a move, military deployment, or a change of the child’s schooling are only a few of the possible things affecting parenting schedules. While the list of reasons is endless, the process is always centered around what is best for your family.
A Child-Centered Approach to Child Custody Modification
Children naturally have limited control of their lives, and divorce, if improperly managed, can increase a sense of helplessness. When children experience increased powerlessness they are more vulnerable to developing maladaptive methods of coping.
Mediation creates a private, open environment where parents can regain a sense of their own control. From that space, they are best able to thoughtfully, and candidly consider choices for their children. This supports children feeling calmer and safer.
In a child-centered approach, the needs of your children are always considered foremost when developing child custody modifications.
As children age, educational and behavioral issues can arise that were not present when the original agreement was drafted making child custody modifications necessary. When we examine the needs of your child, we begin to reformulate a child custody agreement that promotes his well-being, given the changed circumstances and new information.
A Complete Child Custody Modification Isn’t Always Necessary, Saving You Time and Money
When the current child custody arrangement no longer fits, an entire child custody modification is not necessarily required. Mediation can often lead to a simple reworking of the parenting plan that is agreeable to all parties. If a more complete child custody modification may be necessary in the future, we can include such a provision in the agreement, specifying a time when the parties will revisit the agreement and make necessary adjustments.
Even if a document must be filed with the court, mediation allows us to work on that document in a controlled setting and at your pace. If the court must be involved at all, it is typically only after the child custody modification has been worked out in full, drafted, and thoroughly reviewed.
Why A Child Custody Agreement Might Be Necessary: Relocation
Child custody agreements have evolved considerably since their inception. In many divorces, some form of shared parenting often results, and both mediators and the courts recognize the need for children to spend as much time as possible with both parents.
However, a child custody modification may be necessary if circumstances in your life change. For instance, if you relocate out-of-state for a job or to remarry, or even move into a new house some distance from your former spouse’s (where your child resides 50% of the time), a modification of the child custody agreement may be required.
Relocation of one parent in a shared custody situation can be one of the more difficult issues for courts to resolve. The court is taxed with competing principles – first, to enable the individual parents to further their lives meaningfully; second, to ensure the parent/child relationship can flourish; third, to protect the non-moving parent’s parental rights, including time with the child.
The sensitive and nuanced nature of these considerations is more suitable for a mediation setting. The identification of “out-of-the-box,” creative alternatives — so important in relocation cases — is inherent in the mediation process; not so in litigation proceedings.
Through mediation, parties are able to solve problems outside of the courtroom. In fact, judges often prefer mediation to address child custody modifications amicably.