Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Boise Idaho Divorce Attorneys - Family Law Lawyers - Vexatious Modification

What can you do when you have gone through a divorce and custody trial and now your ex-spouse regularly brings modification proceedings against you?  As a Boise Divorce Attorney I see this happen now and then.  In general, a custody decree can be modified when there has been a substantial and material change of circumstance.  This means that you would not have known about it at the time of the original proceeding or a prior modification.  A substantial and material change means that your circumstances have changed to a degree that it makes sense to modify the original decree.  For example, if you were originally given primary physical custody of your child with supervised visitation for the other parent because the other parent was unemployed, perhaps engaging in unhealthy or unsafe behavior and not "stable" enough to provide a physical residence for the child, if that party has gotten their act together and can prove that to the court, the court may very well modify the decree to allow unsupervised visitation.

When does modification become vexatious?  To vex someone is to annoy or harass them.  Modification becomes vexatious when it is brought without sufficient grounds.  As a Boise Divorce Attorney I see this occasionally and it is usually done by a party representing themselves without the help of a divorce lawyer.  In part it is done because they don't know that it is not allowed in Idaho.  It is often also partly done with the intent to harass or annoy the other party.

What can you do if you are the victim of vexatious modification?  The Idaho Code allows sanctions against the other party in the form of attorneys fees.  If an Idaho court finds that one party or the other is bringing modification actions without merit and those have risen to the degree of vexatious, it will order the other party's attorneys fees to be paid by the offending party.  Not all judges, but some Idaho judges will go to the degree of disallowing the party against whom sanctions have been imposed from even coming back to court to hear a valid modification argument, if they have failed to pay those sanctions.

If you are seeking a divorce or a modification of a custody decree and need to speak to a Boise Divorce Attorney, give us a call, (208) 472-2383 and see what we can do for you.

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