10 Post-Divorce Mediation Q&As
You may feel like once your divorce agreement is ordered into effect by a judge that it is set in stone, but that is not necessarily true. While you are legally required to comply with the terms of the divorce agreement, it is possible to change them after they have been ordered. You can do this by going back to court, but you do not have to step foot in a courtroom to make changes to your existing divorce agreement. In fact, you and your ex-spouse can agree to alter the terms of the agreement outside of court through post-divorce mediation.
Can a divorce agreement be altered after it is ordered by a judge?
Yes. Divorce agreements are legally binding when a judge orders them into effect, which means that you can face legal consequences for failing to adhere to them. However, that doesn’t mean that changes cannot be made. If you have a material reason for making a change, you can have your original agreement revised. You can do this by reaching an agreement with your former spouse or co-parent either independently or through mediation, or you can return to court to litigate the matter with the help of an attorney.
What changes can be made to a divorce order?
A divorce order generally covers matters including child custody and visitation (included in the parenting plan), child support payments, and alimony payments. All of these may be revised after a divorce if a material reason is presented. For instance, if the spouse paying alimony or child support experiences a significant increase or decrease in their income, this can provide a material cause for revising the divorce order. Likewise, if one parent moves out of state, it may require changing the custody agreement and visitation schedule from the one that was developed when they were both local.
Can the alimony amount be changed after a divorce?
Yes. If there is a material change or valid reason that alimony cannot or should no longer be paid, or if it is discovered that your spouse was concealing assets during the divorce, this may provide cause to amend the amount of alimony paid to the other spouse. If you believe that the amount of alimony that you are paying or receiving should be adjusted, you can talk to an attorney to determine whether you have grounds.
How can I change a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is the parents’ best attempt at planning for the care of their child following a divorce. However, circumstances often shift, which can necessitate changing the existing custody and visitation schedule. If this is the case, you can talk to your co-parent to see if you can work together to reach a mutually agreeable change to the terms of the existing agreement. If you are able to agree on your own, a lawyer can help you petition the court to amend the existing order. If you are unable to reach an agreement on your own, you may be able to do so through mediation with the help of a neutral third-party who will then submit your agreed-upon terms to the court for approval. You can also hire a lawyer and petition the court to make your proposed changes.
What is post-divorce mediation?
Not everything stays the same after a divorce, so sometimes changes need to be made to your original agreement. If changes need to be made to the amount of child support or alimony payments, or it becomes impossible to continue adhering to the existing child custody and visitation schedule, post-divorce mediation can allow you and your former spouse or co-parent to negotiate new terms that meet both of your needs and are in the best interest of your shared children. Once both parties agree to the new terms they will be sent to the court for approval.
Can child support payments be changed post divorce?
Yes, in certain circumstances, child support payments can be altered after a court-ordered custody agreement has gone into effect. For instance, if the non-custodial spouse begins earning materially more income (usually that would result in 10% or $100 more per month than when the original payment was determined) this can be a basis for revisiting the payment amount. Additionally, a change in the child’s needs and expenses can provide this basis.
Do I need a lawyer for post-divorce mediation?
You do not need a lawyer for post-divorce mediation, however, you may wish to consult with one before submitting your agreed-upon terms to the court. Mediation is not binding, so both parties have the opportunity to change their mind at any point, even after agreeing to the new terms. They can also each have independent counsel review their agreed-upon terms before they are submitted to the court. The mediator may be a licensed attorney, but they are neutral, so they cannot advise either party on whether the new terms are in their best interest.
Do I have to go to court to make changes to my child custody agreement?
In order to make changes to your child custody agreement you will only have to go to court if you and your co-parent are unable to come to an agreement on new terms independently or with the assistance of a mediator who is trained in conflict resolution. The majority of parties have success arriving at mutually agreeable terms with the assistance of a mediator. Once both parties have agreed to the terms they have the choice to have lawyers review them and then the mediator will submit the new terms to the court for approval.
Is post-divorce mediation expensive?
Post-divorce mediation is generally far less expensive than post-divorce modifications done in court, which require litigation, and, consequently, steep legal fees.
How long does post-divorce mediation take?
Depending on the matters that need to be litigated, post-divorce mediation may only take a matter of hours, and may even be completed in a single session.
Talk to Asa Pitt Mediation
If you need your custody or divorce agreement modified, Asa Pitt Mediation, located in Los Angeles, California, can help make the changes you need quickly, painlessly, and effectively. Contact Asa Pitt Mediation today to schedule a consultation.