How Do I Contest A Modification Of My Divorce Decree?
In an ideal world, all divorce agreements would be fair, equally serving both parties’ interests. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always end up being the case, which can have significant repercussions for a wronged spouse, making it difficult for that person to move on with his or her life. Even when an agreement is fair, there is nothing stopping the other spouse from trying to change it at a later date. Individuals do, however, have legal rights when it comes to contesting, or arguing against these modifications. Read on to learn more.
Filing a Response to the Modification Petition
When a person receives notice of a former partner’s attempt to modify a divorce decree, one of his or her first steps will need to be filing a response with the court and serving that petition on the other party. Once a former spouse has received an answer contesting a modification, he or she will have another 30 days to respond. This is a critical step because if the other party doesn’t respond before this deadline, then a judge can issue a default judgment in the responding party’s favor.
Once both parties have submitted the proper paperwork, they can attempt to settle their disagreement in an out-of-court setting. This is a good time for the petitioner to assess the reason for his or her resistance to the modification attempt. If the modification request is truly unfair then the parties may need to take the issue to court to have it resolved. If, however, the resisting party is only holding onto a grudge left over from the divorce, then it can save everyone a lot of time, money, and stress to stop opposing the change.
Going to Trial
By resisting an attempt to change a divorce decree, a person has effectively decided to contest the other party’s legal action. Any type of legal contest, however, could end up resulting in a trial, so it’s a good idea for petitioners to be prepared for this eventuality. The judge will likely call witnesses for both parties and hear evidence and arguments presented by their attorneys. Once all of the evidence has been assessed, the judge will be in a position to render a decision, either approving the request for modification, or denying it. Unfortunately, litigation can be a time-consuming process, which is why most divorced couples are encouraged to attempt settlement negotiations before going to court.
Hiring an Attorney
One of the best things you can do to help improve your chances of successfully contesting a modification of your divorce decree is to hire a good lawyer, who is well-versed in Florida family law procedure and can ensure that your legal interests are protected. To learn more about how having an experienced legal representative on your side could help in your own case, call dedicated Florida divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today. You can also set up a free consultation by filling out one of our online contact forms.