What is a Post-Judgment Action?
A divorce, custody or child support case is typically finalized as a result of a settlement agreement or when the judge has entered a court order setting forth all of the terms you are expected to follow. However, certain life changes or circumstances in the years following the end of the case might require a modification to the existing order or agreement. Such modifications or updates to the existing order or agreement are considered post-judgment actions and may be initiated by a party filing a motion or application with the court. In response to the motion, a cross-motion is filed by the other party, and, before a motion hearing is scheduled, a reply to the cross-motion is filed by the initiating party. Certain Court Rules dictate the timing and filing of the motion, cross-motion, reply certification, and the motion process.
Changes in circumstances or a basis for a modification could include:
- Job loss
- New job
- Severe illness, including mental health issues
- Permanent or long-term disability
- Relocation (or the desire to relocate)
- Discovery that a child has special needs or special talents
- The emancipation of a child (upon reaching 18 or for other reasons)
- Child going to college
- Birth of another child
- Reduction in income
- Termination of alimony
In addition to the above circumstances, loss of a job for 90 days or more may be a basis to apply to the Court for a temporary reduction in support. Child support may be subject to a triennial review resulting in an increase or decrease in child support, depending on the circumstances. A party obtaining a new job may be a basis for an increase or decrease in alimony, or an increase or a decrease in child support.
Should you seek to relocate with your child, or if the other party seeks to relocate, the Court will look into whether the move is in the child’s best interests. We can assist you in gathering the information on the factors considered by the Court and present and argue your position before the Court. For example, your child may have special needs which require the attention of local specialists, or you are relocating to be closer to family and, therefore, expand your support network. Disability may also impact support and/or custody. For example, an addiction or severe disability may cause a parent to no longer be able to care for a child unsupervised. Our experienced Post-Judgment attorneys are available to handle cases in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Union County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Essex County, Morris County, and Hunterdon County.
In addition, the cohabitation of a party may impact the payment of alimony and may require the gathering of evidence to prove cohabitation or disprove cohabitation. Social media has become a big part of proving cohabitation as has the reliance on private investigators. If cohabitation is proven, the next consideration is whether there is financial interdependence.
If you and the other party agree to modifications to your settlement agreement or court order, you can place the modification in writing and sign it either with the assistance of counsel or have your signatures notarized. It is best to have modifications formalized, rather than confirmed through an email or text message.
If there has been a significant change in circumstances since your divorce or since an order was entered, we invite you to speak with one of our Post-Judgment attorneys about your particular matter. It is very important that your application to the Court provide all the information necessary for the Judge to make an informed decision. We can assist you in navigating these issues as we have mediated and/or litigated all of these types of changes in circumstances.