Modifying a Divorce Judgement
“I have been divorced for five years. The child support order has never been modified but I know my spouse received a big promotion and the children’s expenses have really increased. The problem is that I remarried and my new husband earns twice as much as my former husband. Am I entitled to ask for more child support?”
“My wife got 50% of my pension in the divorce a year ago. But she just remarried and her husband is really wealthy. I lost my job. Can I go back to court to get my pension back?”
“At the time we got divorced the divorce judgment permitted me to stay in our home for five years with the children. At the end of the five years I either had to buy out my husband for half the equity or sell and divide the equity. In the meantime, the value of our house decreased so much that we now owe more than it is worth. What are my options?”
“My wife and I were divorced four years ago. She stayed in our house with our kids by agreement. Since she couldn’t afford to refinance, and the housing slump caused our house to be ‘under water’ we agreed that she would stay with the kids, pay the mortgage and we would put the house on the market in five years. I just found out that she hasn’t paid the mortgage for months. I’m worried that she will file bankruptcy and stick me with the debt. What are my options?”
“Last month I learned that my former spouse divorced me by publication, even though we still work together at ABC corp. I saw the default judgment and learned that she asked for and was awarded the family car that I drive and that is titled to me. What can I do?”
Many complicated property issues have arisen post decree with the recession and dramatic fall in home values in Chicagoland. Many divorcing spouses, who counted on dividing equity in their former marital homes, are now dividing debt. Others who divorced after the slump entered into agreements counting on a resurgence in home values but not counting on the possibility that their former spouse would default on the loans. Many of these issues will be resolved in bankruptcy court. For those issues that are not, and to discuss options that do not involve bankruptcy, call Julie. Judgments are final when entered. However a spouses’ fraud or a court’s lack of jurisdiction may permit you, under certain circumstances, to vacate a divorce judgment. Certain aspects within a divorce judgment, such as custody orders, visitation orders and support orders are always modifiable. Other aspects may be modifiable, such as a maintenance award. Property allocations, absent fraud, are treated differently. Consult with Julie to determine whether or not you are entitled to return to court or whether or not you are likely to receive relief from an onerous judgment.