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Why no divorce decree is ever final

It's finally done. You've spent months negotiating custody, support and property division, and the judge has signed off. You couldn't be happier and are eager to move on with your life. But is there is a possibility you could end up in court again?

When children are involved in a divorce, you can be almost certain that, as the years pass, there will be changes to your original agreement. Just as you are likely to have changes in your job, income, and even your residence, your kids' schedules and lives change, too. With that, new arrangements need to made, old decisions need to be reconsidered.

Reasons for change

Few people manage to raise their children to age 18 without having job transitions. Whether it is a promotion that involves more travel, or one that involves a pay raise, employment changes have implications. The former may involve renegotiating a parenting plan, the latter may require a modification to support payments.

As children grow, they get involved in activities of their own, such as such as music lessons, after school sports and math club. They may make more friends near one parent's home, and once in high school, they may get an after school job. These changes may require custody and support changes, as well.

How are modifications made?

There are myriad methods for modifying a divorce decree. Ex-spouses can simply make an agreement and choose to abide by it. This is the simplest and least costly method, however, inherent in it is the danger that one party may later choose to renege.

In that case, the divorce decree takes immediate precedence. Formally codifying the change, therefore, is always preferable. An attorney can do this easily and quickly, and submit it to the court for a signature.

What if we can't agree?

In cases, where ex-spouses cannot agree, a motion may be filed with the court. The motion can then either be negotiated between the parties, or, if a consensus cannot be reached, the court will make a determination.

If divorcing couples can understand that changes will necessarily occur along the path of parenthood, and that flexibility is the key to co-parenting, adjustments can usually be created that serve the family now and well into the future.

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Cole Law Group
750 Old Hickory Blvd
Building 2
Suite 202
Brentwood, TN 37027

Phone: 615-490-6020
Fax: 615-942-5914
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