Life is unpredictable. Things change. After a divorce, legal separation, or annulment has been finalized, changed circumstances can warrant alterations in how certain matters are handled – important matters such as alimony, child support, and child custody and visitation. These changes are known legally as "post-judgment modifications."
What Are Post-Judgment Modifications in NJ?
Marriages and civil unions are legal relationships. That's why there are licensure requirements, and that's also why those relationships aren't "over" until a final court judgment says they are.
The final judgment rendered in a family court case sets the rules for how matters are handled after divorces, legal separations, and annulments. The final judgment (and any divorce or similar agreement incorporated into it) governs not only property and debt division but also alimony, child support, and child custody and visitation.
Although the court's judgment in a case is final, New Jersey (NJ) law provides a mechanism through which it may be modified: post-judgment modifications. It is appropriate to seek judicial relief from a final judgment when there are changed circumstances.
What "Changed Circumstances" Can Support Post-Judgment Modifications in NJ?
There are many valid reasons to seek post-judgment modifications in NJ, including both positive and negative life events. Here are several types of changed circumstances that may lead to a successful motion for post-judgment modification in NJ:
-Demotion or job loss of the applying spouse (including retirement)
-A significant job promotion of the other spouse
-Changes in work schedules of one or both parents
-Severe illness or disability of the applying spouse or of the parties' child
-The other spouse living with another person as a life partner or remarrying
-The other spouse suffering from significant issues that affect his or her ability to parent properly, such as domestic violence, substance abuse, or mental or physical health problems
-The parties' child going to college or becoming emancipated from his or her parents
-A parent's wish to relocate with the parties' child
Some of these changed circumstances might lead to post-judgment modifications of how financial issues are handled, such as alimony or child support. Others may warrant post-judgment modification of parenting issues, such as child custody or visitation.
How to Get Post-Judgment Modifications in NJ
Although the NJ court system provides a form packet that may be used to request post-judgment modifications, be aware that modifications can be difficult to obtain. While court staff are helpful, they cannot give you legal advice or offer opinions about your situation or your case.
In addition, the evidence that must be provided to prevail in a post-judgment modification request is not necessarily intuitive, and it can be difficult to obtain judicial review if you aren't familiar with legal processes.
When you're dealing with requests for post-judgment modifications in NJ, your finances and ability to support yourself and raise your children are all on the table. An experienced NJ family lawyer is best suited to help you evaluate the strength of your request and to pursue it on your behalf.
Life doesn't always go according to plan. If you're struggling and need legal assistance with post-judgment modifications in NJ, contact me, Elizabeth Rozin-Golinder, by filling out my Contact Form or calling (732) 810-0034. I have years of experience practicing family law in NJ, and I'll put my experience to work for you and your children.