Does A Modification Affect All Parts Of The Divorce Decree?

divorce lawyer Daniel ExnerQuestion:

My divorce question is about a new modification and its effects on other parts of the decree that have been left untouched.

Our divorce decree says that my ex-wife and I will pay 50% of our child’s health care costs. She has repeatedly failed to pay her full share of the monthly costs.

We went through a child custody modification last year where the visitation schedule was modified, though no other parts of the decree were.

Since a modification to the decree was previously made, does this effect all other parts of the divorce decree? So if she owes me financial support, am I able to go after her for reimbursement or is everything, including owed support, lost because there has already been a modification?

Answer:

Since I am only licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, I can only provide you with general divorce help for men to your question about business and divorce.

The specific language in your Divorce Decree and Modification Order will dictate the answers to your questions as there may be language that is highly specific regarding the request for reimbursement and the reimbursement of uninsured medical expenses.

Although many terms of a divorce decree may be final, parties have the option of reviewing their agreements and modifying them with mutual agreement. Courts will approve modifications as long as they are not against public policy, unconscionable, or against the best interests of the children.

New agreements reached by parties do not necessarily negate old agreements. Generally, a new agreement only affects the areas of the previous agreement that are specifically addressed.

In many modification agreements, you will contain language like, “this agreement does not modify any current orders unless expressly contradicted.” While this type of language is not necessary, it is helpful when figuring out the intent of the parties.

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Modifications Of Divorce Decrees

In your case, you may be able to still seek the past unpaid support unless your agreement specifically accounts for the arrears. If the new agreement only changed the placement schedule but did not mention support, a court may readily find those orders still in place.

Prospectively, the same analysis may apply as long as your agreement does not alter the support payments or the 50/50 arrangement.

I recommend consulting with a mens divorce attorney before you take any divorce decree modification actions.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Milwaukee Divorce Lawyer Daniel Exner, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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