If the future is anything, it’s unpredictable. In the years following the finalization of a divorce, both parties are likely to go through a series of major life events.
These events can have a huge impact on the effectiveness and relevance of their original court order. That is why there is an option for post-decree modifications. Whether a party loses a job, relocates to another city or state or simply changes work schedules, a post-decree modification of parenting time or support orders may be necessary and an experienced lawyer will be able to assist a party with modifying the terms of the divorce to better reflect the current situation.
Custody and Parenting Time
One of the most common causes for post-decree modifications is to make changes in custody, more specifically, parenting time arrangements. Modifications to custody are complex and can occur only under one of three changes in circumstances: 1) agreement of the parties, 2) integration, or 3) endangerment. To determine whether your matter meets the criteria for modification of custody, it is best to consult with a family law lawyer. Parenting time may be a bit easier to modify, especially if the parents agree and the modification meets with the development needs of the child.
Similarly, child support obligations may also change as both parties continue to work and move through new life events, such as a change in employment, medical and dental care coverage, or child care expenses. A change in income by either parent may be grounds for an increase or reduction of child support. If medical and dental care coverage is no longer available through an employer or a more affordable provider is available, this is another reason to modify the terms of the child support obligation. Finally, child care expenses are supposed to be based on actual child care expenses. If there are no longer child care expenses being incurred by the parents, this too is basis for modification of child support.
In addition to custody, parenting time and child support, another major post-decree modification issue is spousal maintenance. If one party gets remarried, they will no longer be eligible to receive any support from their previous spouse. If the payer loses their job unexpectedly, and becomes unable to pay spousal maintenance, they may file a motion to modify spousal maintenance with a request to decrease or dismiss the obligation. A lawyer with experience in spousal maintenance will be able to help you determine whether a recent life event qualifies for a modification in your spousal maintenance obligation.
R. Leigh Frost Law
For more information about the post-decree modification process, contact R. Leigh Frost Law today. We will be happy to review your divorce decree with you and discuss post-decree modification options that may be available to you.