Our clients often come back to us after their divorce is final to ask for help with emerging situations they couldn’t have anticipated at the time they signed their Judgment of Dissolution.  In this economy, jobs can appear and disappear quickly.  Children get older, and their needs change.  People face unforeseen medical problems which cause significant changes to their financial situations.

In these situations, Oregon law provides for review and modification of certain terms contained in the Judgment which was originally filed with the court.  Spousal support, child support, custody, and parenting plan provisions may be revised based on the substantially new circumstances of the parties.

Not everything in a judgment is modifiable, however, and this is where people sometimes get confused.  The court will almost never modify property and debt distributions after divorce papers are signed and entered with the court.  The policy of the law is to allow you do with your property after the divorce as you see fit.  You can spend or save, fritter or invest at your own whim: once the divorce is final, you’re no longer answerable to your former spouse if property or debt has been awarded to you free and clear by the court.

The key to avoiding problems is to understand these legal principles and try to plan ahead before the divorce is final.  Too often people do not consult with good legal counsel and perhaps try and get done quickly at no cost.  A well-drafted dissolution judgment will anticipate some of the inevitable future changes.  However, no one knows the future in its entirety, and even the strongest judgments may need to be revisited.  Can you say for certain that you know the laws about what can and cannot be changed?

If you have real estate, retirement accounts, or other substantial assets, do yourself a favor and contact us at info@danielpeterslaw.com for a free consultation before moving forward.