What Is The Process To Modify A Divorce Decree?

If you're going to Supreme Court, you would file an order to show cause. The judge will set the initial court date and also the manner of service, which is usually either overnight mail with a signature confirmation or certified mail with a return receipt, simply because the court no longer has to get jurisdiction over the party. They just have to be ensured that the party received actual notice. If you're filing in family court, you would file a summons and a petition. The summons actually has to be personally served because there's a different statute that governs family court proceedings, as opposed to Supreme Court proceedings.

Can A Request Or Petition To Modify A Decree Be Challenged Or Opposed?

The other party has an absolute right to be heard on the request. The court will generally conduct a hearing or trial on the parties' application to modify the decree, but the court isn't mandated to hold a trial. If the issues are relatively simple and a lengthy trial doesn't seem necessary, the court isn't required to conduct a formal trial, where parties take the witness stand and present witnesses and evidence. Sometimes, people want just minor adjustments. For example, they want to change a pickup or drop off location. The court is not mandated to hold a trial, but they certainly are mandated to hear out the other side as to what their objections are.

What Is The General Timeline For A Request Of Modification To Go Through?

The timeline depends on whether a hearing or trial has to be conducted on the request for modification. If the issue is relatively simple, then you may be looking at a timeframe of three months or less. If a particular application has to be tried, you might be looking at a much longer process. Issues such as relocation of children almost always require a hearing or trial to be conducted. Those applications take usually six to eight months or more. If someone is looking to switch custody of the children, they could be looking at a full blown custody trial, which may take well over a year in some cases.

Why Should I Retain An Attorney To Handle A Modification Of A Divorce or Custody Decree?

Whether you need an attorney really depends on the issue that you're looking to adjust, how familiar you are with that particular judge, and whether the other side is going to bring in an attorney. If it's not a complex issue, you may not need one. At the very least, you should certainly consider consulting with one before you appear in court.

Additional Information On Modification Of a Divorce Or Custody Decree In New York

Overall, everyone benefits from having an attorney. Often, these cases are dependent upon what happens between the attorneys in between court proceedings. I try to impart to all of my clients that you need to keep a careful paper trail, especially when you don't have attorneys or judges involved, because you have to capture what goes on at each step of the way. If a parent is late with pick up or drop off, document that by emailing them about it. When you go back to court, you can show the judge that on these dates they were late by these amounts of time.

Simply saying they were late numerous times will not win your case. The more you keep track of details and the more you try to rectify issues, so that the judge can see you're not here just to be a burdensome person on the court, the better you look. The judge can then step in and either do a modification or send the parties off to mediation.

For more information on Process To Modify A Divorce Decree In NY, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (914) 368-7580 today.