When going through a divorce, one of your main goals should be to resolve all relevant issues to the best of your ability. This will minimize the risk of new issues arising after your divorce, and it will help ensure that you have the tools you need to address any unexpected issues should they arise.

Unfortunately, even if you do everything you can to make sure your post-divorce life is as stress-free as possible, challenges can still arise due to factors beyond your control. With this in mind, this article provides some tips for what to do if you encounter an issue after your divorce in Illinois.

5 Tips for Resolving Issues After Your Divorce in Illinois

It is not uncommon for divorced spouses to encounter a variety of issues after bringing their marriage to an end. These issues can arise weeks, months, or even years down the road. Maybe your former spouse stops paying child support. Or, maybe you get a job offer that requires you to relocate. Whatever the case may be, if something happens that has implications related to your divorce, you will want to address the issue proactively.

Different circumstances can call for different approaches. Depending on what happened and why your options may include:

1. Review Your Divorce Settlement Agreement or Order

When dealing with an issue post-divorce, one of your first steps should be to review your divorce settlement agreement or order. You will want to look for two main things:

  • Does your divorce settlement agreement or order provide a clear answer? For example, if your former spouse has stopped paying child support, does your agreement or order make clear that he or she has a continuing obligation to pay? If you will need to talk to your spouse or take legal action, you will want to make sure you have an accurate understanding of the terms of your divorce.
  • Does your divorce settlement agreement specify a means of resolution? For example, did you and your former spouse agree to discuss any issues in good faith or go to mediation before seeking a legal remedy in court? These types of terms can help avoid contentious post-divorce disputes; and, if you agreed to try to work things out, then you must do so.

If you are unclear on the terms of your divorce settlement agreement or order, you will want to speak with a lawyer. You should not be making assumptions at this stage. Whether you believe your former spouse is in violation or you need to seek a modification of your existing arrangement, it is very important that you avoid making assumptions (or other mistakes) that could have adverse consequences.

2. Talk to Your Former Spouse

In many cases, the most efficient (even if not the most desirable) way to resolve issues after a divorce will be to talk to your former spouse. Post-divorce issues frequently result from forgetfulness and simple misunderstandings. If your former spouse forgot about his or her responsibilities, or if he or she misunderstood part of your divorce settlement agreement or order, addressing the issue in a non-confrontational manner could produce an easy fix that allows you both to move forward.

On the same token, if you need to seek a modification to the terms of your divorce, opening an amicable dialogue could help you obtain a favorable outcome without the need to present arguments in court. While you will still need to go to court for a judge’s approval, if you and your former spouse can agree in advance this will significantly reduce the time, effort, and cost involved.

3. Seek (or Fight) a Modification of Your Divorce Settlement or Order

If your former spouse is not willing to agree to your proposed modification, then you will need to seek a modification in court. Continuing our example above, if you want to take a new job that requires relocation (and relocating would make your current custody arrangement impractical), you will need to seek a modification before doing anything that violates the current terms of your divorce. Illinois law allows modification under a variety of circumstances, but you will need to be careful to ensure that you are seeking a modification that complies with the law.

If your former spouse has filed for a modification and you want to stick with the current terms of your divorce, you can fight his or her modification request in court. From arguing that there has not been a “substantial change of circumstances” (as required by Illinois law) to demonstrating that your former spouse’s proposed arrangement does not serve your children’s best interests, there are a variety of potential options available.

4. Enforce (or Protect) Your Legal Rights in Court

If necessary, you can also go to court to enforce the terms of your divorce settlement agreement or order. Common grounds for seeking enforcement include failure to pay child support, failure to pay alimony, and violations of child custody or visitation. If your former spouse has gone to court to enforce his or her legal rights, you can hire a lawyer to help you protect your legal rights as well.

5. Have Your Lawyer Contact Your Former Spouse’s Lawyer

Finally, another option that will make sense in many scenarios is to have your lawyer contact your former spouse’s lawyer. Even if you cannot get your spouse to listen to you, your former spouse may be willing to listen to his or her attorney. If resolving the issue amicably ultimately makes the most sense for everyone (as will often be the case), then getting your lawyers involved briefly may be enough to steer the conversation in the right direction.

Discuss Your Options with Gurnee, IL Divorce Lawyer Deanna J. Bowen

If you have encountered an issue after your divorce and would like to know more about the options you have available, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with Gurnee, IL divorce lawyer Deanna J. Bowen, please call 847-623-4002 or request an appointment online today.