What can be modified in a divorce agreement in Massachusetts
With regard to modifying a divorce agreement, typically it’s a case where there’s been a substantial change of circumstances so that might be the case where someone lost their job and can no longer pay child support or can only pay a minimum out of child support. Another reason to modify a divorce agreement might be a change in custody for whatever reason that the child needs are that the custody change needs to be made. Another reason that a divorce agreement might be modified is if one parent wants to move out of state. That’s called a removal case and so the parenting planning has to change and the custody of the child has to change. So in short, anything related to the child or children is always modifiable. The court wants to be able to monitor what’s in the best of the child in the event the parties are unable to agree. The parents are unable to agree what is in the child’s best interest. What is not modifiable is anything to do with asset division. Anything to do with whether or not the house to going to get sold, when it is going to get sold, how the pensions are divided, how the retirement plans are divided or how the charge card that is divided. That’s generally considered not modifiable and every agreement has in it the terms of what is modifiable and what is not modifiable. So when it says that the child-related provisions of the agreement verged, that’s because verging means that it’s modifiable. If it says that the division of assets survives the entry of the judgment of divorce, that’s because that is not modifiable. It’s not modifiable when it says it survives. I’m often times asked to review agreements as to what’s modifiable and what’s not modifiable and one of the things that one of the areas that that comes up in is alimony. Sometimes people have entered in to an agreement where they have what we call a ‘surviving alimony clause’ and that means it’s not modifiable generally. Sometimes they have a merging alimony clause which means the duration of the alimony, the amount of the alimony that could be modified.
This informational blog post was brought to you by Cynthia L. Hanley, an experienced Mansfield, Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer.