Post-divorce modifications are not as common as one might would expect. We see maybe one case in our practice every few years.
When And Why Would Division Of Assets, Property And Debt Be Modified After A Divorce?
The division of assets, property, and debt is generally finalized at the time of divorce unless there is a specific issue that is either reserved for a later date or an appeal has been noted.
Can A Decree Be Modified If An Asset Was Omitted In The Divorce Process?
Generally not. The law favors finality. The process of civil litigation affords people the opportunity to complete extensive discovery and places the burden of due diligence on the parties. One would have to show a mistake of jurisdiction, an irregularity by the Court clerk or a fraud in due process itself in order to strike a final decree.
Can Custody And Visitation Matters Ever Be Modified?
Yes, anytime there is a “material change of circumstance.” Common examples of a material change of circumstance are a child starting school, a parent relocating, the minor child reaching 16, or a parent becoming unfit.
Does The Same Judge Who Handled The Divorce Have To Handle The Modification As Well?
There is no requirement that the same judge that presided over the original trial also hear the modification, but it is the common practice. Judges retire, relocate, or pass away, and thereby become unavailable. Also, whether or not the case is heard in the same court is a jurisdictional or a venue issue. Even if the location should be changed, there still needs to be a filing in the original court seeking the change of jurisdiction or venue.
Should The Same Attorney Who Handled My Divorce Handle My Modification As Well?
If your original attorney did a good job on your divorce, there is no reason to make the change. If, for whatever reason, the original attorney is not available, or the client feels that they were not well represented, then absolutely one can change attorneys. However, it can be somewhat difficult to make a change if your case is close to trial; we will usually request a continuance in that circumstance. Also, whenever we take a case over from a prior attorney, it is challenging to get up to speed because there are often facts that are not reflected in the file and that the client may have not been aware.
For more information on Post-Divorce Modifications In Maryland, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (301) 892-6007 today.