In a divorce situation, nothing is ever final. Divorce agreements can be adjusted to reflect what is going on in the lives of the men and women involved. If one person’s circumstances significantly change or if a child’s needs change, it may be time to reconsider the divorce agreement and seek a court order modification.

However, just because someone wants to modify an existing court order does not necessarily mean the court will automatically change the order. The person making the request must show a genuine purpose for the change. If the court disagrees that a modification is necessary, the requestor is left with the existing order. This is what one Georgia man recently discovered the hard way.

In June 2009, less than seven months after a drawn-out divorce, a man sought court approval for child custody and visitation modification. He also filed a petition for citation of contempt regarding his young child.

A fierce litigation battle followed. Ultimately, a Gwinnett Superior Court judge recently determined that the man’s legal action was “baseless, void of foundations of law and/or fact” and was filed simply to harass and rack up unnecessary costs.

The court declared that the man’s case constituted abusive litigation. Under state law, if someone brings a lawsuit that is found to be unjustified, the opposing party may be entitled to collect money for his or her attorney fees. In this particular case, the judge awarded the woman $400,000 in attorney fees, which the man who brought the lawsuit must pay. One lawyer noted that this decision was a “landmark or possibly record-setting” amount of money in an abusive litigation matter.

Anyone wondering whether a court order modification request is valid can speak with an experienced family law attorney for clarification.

Source: Gwinnett Daily Post, “Woman gets $400K in abusive litigation,” Tyler Estep, 11 March 2011