Divorce can be an incredibly challenging and emotionally draining experience. When you finally complete your divorce proceedings, it’s easy to feel a mix of relief and despair, but most people consider this the beginning of the next chapter of life. Unfortunately for some, finalizing a divorce order may not mean they will never have to deal with any further legal proceedings involving their ex. Numerous issues can arise that compel divorced spouses back to family court in Topeka, KS, and it’s vital to understand these possibilities and minimize the stress they may cause.
If you have a reliable divorce attorney who represented you during your divorce case, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with them regarding any concerns you may have about your divorce order in the months following the finalization of your divorce. Many situations might compel you back to court, and your attorney can provide valuable guidance and reassurance as you navigate these issues.
When anyone finalizes a civil case and contests the results of the case, or if a defendant convicted in criminal court believes their trial was mishandled, these situations will likely lead to an arduous appeal process. Family court is unique in that there is no need to file an appeal to overturn a previously finalized family court order. If your life changes in unexpected ways, the Topeka, KS, family court system provides a straightforward mechanism for having these changes appropriately addressed as far as your standing divorce order is concerned.
The post-judgment modification process allows you to request a reasonable change to a standing family court order. Instead of appealing the original decision, you must simply submit a petition to the Topeka, KS, family court explaining your desired change and your reasoning as to why the change is necessary. Once the court receives your petition, a hearing is scheduled, and you and your ex will have the opportunity to testify about the proposed changes.
Your ex may agree to the change without contest if your request is understandable and reasonable. If they contest the change, they have the right to offer contradictory evidence and testimony. The judge overseeing the petition will make the final decision. They may approve the requested change, request additional information from either or both parties, or schedule additional sessions to discuss the issue in greater detail. When a modification is approved, it typically takes immediate effect.
Contempt of Court
When a divorce is finalized, both spouses must be careful to abide by the terms of their divorce order to the letter. Failure to do so in any way could potentially lead to contempt of court, a very serious situation with severe consequences. For example, if your ex is required to pay child support or alimony and they refuse to pay, you have the right to file contempt proceedings and petition the court to compel their compliance.
If a parent is held in contempt of court for violating a family court order, the potential penalties depend on the nature of the offense. If they have failed to pay child support, they could have their wages garnished or assets seized to repay what they owe. The court may also enact more stringent payment requirements to ensure future compliance. If a parent intentionally violated a custody order, they could lose their custody or visitation rights. Contempt of court can not only lead to financial penalties and other penalties through the family court system but also criminal charges in some cases.
Spousal Support Disputes
If a divorce order includes a spousal support agreement, both the paying spouse and the recipient must abide by the terms of the agreement in totality. If either spouse violates their agreement, they may face contempt of court and additional penalties. In addition, every spousal support agreement will include terminating actions, which nullify any further payment obligation for the other spouse if taken by the recipient. For example, spousal support will end if the recipient begins living with a new partner or remarries. If a recipient fails to disclose that they have completed a terminating action, the other spouse may file contempt proceedings against them and seek restitution for any damages, such as spousal support payments they didn’t legally need to pay.
It’s also possible to use the modification system to request changes to a spousal support agreement. For example, if you were awarded spousal support and experienced a significant change in your life that increases your need for spousal support, you may have grounds to request an increase to your spousal support terms to a reasonable level.
Unfortunately, many people throughout the US experience domestic violence each year. Domestic violence can occur between former spouses, in which case the victim has the right to seek legal protection in the form of a restraining order. When the police respond to a domestic violence call, they will remove the aggressor from the situation and secure a temporary protective order for the victim. This order will include a hearing date. During the hearing, the judge will determine whether to transition the temporary order into a permanent one and what penalties suit the defendant’s behavior.
The Value of Legal Counsel After Divorce
It can be incredibly frustrating to realize that you need to return to family court to address lingering or current issues related to your divorce order. However, no matter what your situation might entail, it will be easier to approach the situation confidently if you have the support of an experienced Topeka, KS, family court order. Depending on the nature of your issue, your attorney may be able to provide several potential solutions to the problem. In addition, you can rely on your legal team to guide you through modification proceedings, contempt hearings, or any other legal matters that might arise following the finalization of your divorce.
If you need to file any legal proceedings related to your divorce or realize that you must return to family court to request an adjustment to your current family court order, the right attorney is the ideal asset to have in these situations. Contact an experienced Topeka, KS, family law attorney for the support and guidance you need in this situation.