All too often, I have people ask me if they can change their divorce agreement. And the answer is, maybe. When you get divorced, you divide up your property. That is permanent and you cannot go back later and change anything. Matters relating to child support and child related issues are modifiable but only if you can prove a change in circumstances. An example of this would be: let’s say you lost your job and are paying child support and your income has changed. You can file a complaint for modification to lower your child support and the change in circumstance is that you lost your job.
Alimony is sometimes modifiable. It depends on whether your agreement states that issues relating to alimony are merged in to the agreement or whether they survive the agreement. If alimony issues are merged into the agreement, then you can go back at any time and seek alimony as long as there is a material change in circumstance. If alimony survives the divorce agreement, then you cannot go back.
I cannot stress the importance of having a good divorce agreement. A good divorce lawyer can and should help you construct an agreement that includes future issues that may arise. College expenses for example. If you get divorced when your kids are young, college may be the furthest thing from your mind.
I’ve seen situations where people get divorced without legal representation and their agreements are not complete and these people end up spending the money later on trying to correct an agreement through a modification.