The divorce process involves a lot of decision-making and conflict resolution that affects your finances, children, and other personal affairs. Even well-reasoned husbands and fathers can find themselves making emotional decisions without a firm understanding of what is at stake. Additionally, changes in your life after the divorce may require revisiting some of the previously agreed terms. That’s why, under certain circumstances, you may be able to change or amend certain aspects of your signed divorce papers.
What Events Might Allow You to Reconsider a Divorce?
You may have the opportunity to reconsider the terms of a divorce or the divorce altogether at different stages of the process.
Changes Following the Filing of a Divorce Petition
The divorce process formally begins with the filing of a petition to your local court that states your reason for wanting a divorce along with other requests (e.g., alimony, child custody, etc.). If you and your spouse reconcile your differences or otherwise wish to stay married, you can generally file a withdrawal of your petition. Washington mandates a 90-day cooling off period from the time a petition is filed and served before a divorce can be finalized for circumstances just like this.
Changes Because of Misrepresentations or Failed Disclosures During Divorce Negotiations
Most parties enter divorce settlements and court orders based on various representations and facts relevant to their marriage. If you discover new information about your spouse or their assets, you may be able to amend terms that you already agreed to. For example, a spouse’s hiding of a marital asset could require a new accounting of your division of assets.
New Developments After You Sign the Divorce Papers
As stated above, you generally base the terms of a divorce on the circumstances that exist when you sign the proper agreements and other paperwork. However, changes in the life of you and your ex-spouse after divorce can affect the validity of prior agreements or require further amendment. These changes apply to the Parenting Plan or Child Support Order. Changes to the actual Divorce Decree, which stipulates the division of assets and spousal maintenance are very rare and usually only occur when there has been a misrepresentation or both the parties agree to making the change.
Changes to parenting plans and child support are likely to occur if the right circumstances exist to justify the changes. However, be aware that most modifications are not allowed if less than 2 years have passed since the original order was entered.
Some examples of these qualifying events that may change financial or parenting plan arrangements could include:
- Moving (especially if moving outside of Washington)
- Changes in income or financial status (e.g., a new job)
- New needs for your children (e.g., health or educational expenses)
- Health or safety risks to your children (e.g., substance abuse, physical abuse, etc.)
Our Attorneys May Be Able to Help You with Post-Divorce Issues
Protecting the well-being of you and your family after a divorce may require revisiting its terms when new circumstances arise or when new truths come to light. While opening the old wounds of divorce may not sound appealing, understanding your rights in these situations can help you make a decision that works for you. If you have questions about the terms of your divorce after you’ve signed formal documents, please do not hesitate meeting one of our attorneys to further discuss your case. Contact our office today if you need divorce attorneys for men in Tacoma, Washington or to schedule a consultation about your options for amending the terms of a divorce.