Once your divorce is finalized, you might assume it’s over, and you won’t have any further dealings with your ex-spouse.
However, that is not always the case—especially if you have minor children and are co-parenting.
Sometimes one party’s circumstances change, or someone is not abiding by the divorce terms and needs to be held accountable.
In these situations, you may need to start the legal process of enforcing or modifying a court order.
This process is known as filing a post-decree motion, which can be rather complicated.
Hiring an experienced post-decree motions attorney is crucial if you want to ensure that you get the best result possible.
Filing for a post-decree modification means going back to court to resolve something after the court has finalized the divorce.
The attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, understand the frustration and stress associated with pursuing a post-decree modification. But don’t worry.
We can help you fight to enforce or modify an existing court order.
Examples of Post-Decree Modifications
You might need a post-decree modification for many reasons.
The three main topics that could require filing a post-decree motion are spousal support, child support, and custody agreements.
A significant change might have happened since the divorce was final. For instance:
- One party’s income could have significantly decreased,
- One party might have lost their job entirely,
- A party might have gotten a promotion and a big raise,
- One party’s living situation might have changed, or they might have gotten remarried,
- One of your children might have turned 18 and no longer requires support, or
- Perhaps you found something that was not handled correctly in the original division of your marital property.
These and other significant changes might occur after your divorce is final.
If so, Gournaris Abboud, LPA, is here to help if you need to file a post-decree motion. Here is a more in-depth look at each of the common post-decree modifications.
Spousal support can be a hotly-debated issue in a divorce, especially when the court orders one partner to pay support.
If one spouse experiences a significant change in circumstances, the court may consider modifying the existing award.
Usually, a significant change must be something like either party’s involuntary loss of their job.
When the payor spouse (the one who pays) loses their job but has diligently paid previous spousal support, the court could change the payment amount or duration of payments.
But be prepared for the court to scrutinize whether the situation is a valid hardship.
Child custody is routinely discussed in post-decree modifications when it’s necessary to change visitation or the allocation of parental responsibilities.
Courts do not take modifications to child custody lightly.
Before the judge agrees to any changes in the current custody agreement, the parent asking for a change needs to show the following:
- There’s a substantial change in circumstances since the active custody agreement,
- Changing the custody agreement is in your child’s best interests, and
- Changing the existing agreement will benefit the child more than leaving the current one intact.
Child custody modifications are some of the most complicated post-decree motions. It’s essential to hire an experienced post-decree matters attorney.
Otherwise, you could jeopardize your chances of getting the modification you need.
Child support is something else you might need to address in a post-decree motion.
The recipient parent might need to return to court to ask for additional funds because the child’s situation has changed.
Perhaps your child needs emergency medical care, has been diagnosed with a severe illness or disease, or has unexpected new school-related costs.
These scenarios can point to a significant change in circumstances that requires the court’s review to determine whether additional child support is necessary.
It’s also common to address child support in a post-decree modification when something is changing with the custody arrangement.
If the parent ordered to pay support now has taken on more parental responsibility and visitation time, they may not need to pay the same amount of support.
How a Post-Decree Motion Works
You will need to go back to court to enforce or modify a court order from your divorce.
Your post-decree motions attorney will file the motion describing what you want and the facts that support your modification request.
You will need to serve your ex and give them a chance to respond. Then, you will both go to court on a specified date to discuss the motion and issues in dispute.
Before the hearing date, both sides can conduct their own investigation and gather evidence. This is known as discovery.
You might use written questions (interrogatories), oral depositions, requests for the production of documents, and more.
The time to resolve post-decree motions varies. In specific scenarios, the resolution could be quick.
If both parties can agree on a new arrangement, you may not need to go to court for the trial date.
Your attorney will let the court know you’ve reached an agreement, and the judge will review that it’s fair and legal before signing off.
Other modifications may require more time, such as reconsidering child custody arrangements.
If your ex disputes the motion, you must go to trial, present your evidence, and let the court decide.
During the hearing, your attorney will submit your evidence, and you will very likely need to testify.
Contact Our Post-Decree Modification Attorneys
If you are searching for a post-decree motions attorney, contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA.
With more than 50 years of collective experience, we provide high-quality, dedicated legal assistance when you need it most.
We understand that going back to court after a divorce can be daunting—but you don’t have to face it alone.
No matter what type of post-decree motion you need assistance with, Gounaris Abboud, LPA, can help.