Divorce law is a complicated thing, and becomes even more complicated as time goes on. For example, if you are awarded the house and full custody of the children during the initial divorce decree, your ex may opt to revisit these issues later on. In marital property states (also known as "community property" states), actions decreed in a pro se divorce hearing can have ramifications years down the line. Altering these original decrees has both complications and potential abilities.
Complications for Altering Original Pro Se Divorce Decrees
The problem with pro se divorces is that one or both parties draws up the divorce contract on his/her own and without legal assistance. Simple arrangements, such as your ex giving you the house on the one condition that you agree to remove his/her name from the joint mortgage and assume financial liability, carries with it the issue that there is no time constraint or restrictions given in which you are required to accomplish this.
Subsequently, you may have all the time in the world to remove your ex from the mortgage. After a divorce when your credit is in the toilet, it may take a decade or more to get a refinanced mortgage that removes your ex's name. During this time, your ex may repeatedly attempt to take you to court to force out of the marital home or have a judge place requirements and restrictions on you in regards to the original divorce decree regarding the home. What your ex does not know is that a judge cannot make you homeless nor can a judge enforce the very vague divorce decree on you. The original divorce decree cannot be reopened or revisited without going to a much higher court than your county court jurisdiction, and for that, your ex would have to keep requesting court hearings and appeals based on substantial evidence, which he or she cannot produce.
Abilities Attributed to Changes in Original Divorce Decrees
Usually, the only things most judges can change about pro se divorces are in regards to the children. Every three years or so, this may be an issue your ex will force you to revisit if he/she cannot get a change in custody from the prior hearing. Changes in placement, physical custody, legal custody and child support are all things a judge does have power over and can change from the original pro se divorce decree. For more information, contact companies like Bineham & Gillen, PLLC.