Once a divorce is over and the dust settles, people often realize that they shouldn’t have agreed to certain terms in their agreement. I have been told by clients that they agreed to certain things because they just “wanted to get it over with”. Clarity comes later and people want to alter the agreement because they believe that something was not “fair”.
In order to file for a modification of the divorce agreement, there must be a change in circumstance and you will have to prove it. Let’s say that you think you are entitled to more child support. You can’t just file a modifcation and ask for it. You have to make the assertion and then prove that your ex spouse makes more money now then he or she did then. That is what’s considered a change that can be the basis of a modification.
Certain things are not modifiable. The division of personal property is final at divorce. It can’t be reopened unless you can prove that fraud was involved. That would include retirement accounts, bank accounts, real estate, furniture, boats, etc. etc. Let’s imagine that you agreed to allow your ex to keep the old Mustang that he was fixing up. At some point later, you find out that he sold that Mustang for an astronomical amount of money. You can’t go back and ask the Court to give you more money for the Mustang.
A surefire way to not have to have a modification is to have good representation in your divorce. I had a person come to me once and bring their divorce agreement which stated that they had to carry health insurance for their ex. There were no conditions or time limitations to this. That person found out that she could no longer cover her spouse on her company’s health insurance. The divorce agreement, however, didn’t have any provisions regarding this so she was going to be forced to pay for a new policy for her husband. That was a poorly drafted divorce agreement. It should have had protective language such as, “wife shall cover husband’s health insurance as long as it is available to her and as long as husband is eligible as an ex spouse to remain on the policy. If there is an additional cost to have husband on said policy, that cost shall be the husband’s responsibility”.
Modifications can be expensive and unless an agreement is reached, a costly trial will result.