What is a Post-Decree Modification?
After the divorce is finalized, you may need to make changes to your arrangements. You can do this by requesting a post-decree modification. There are several different types you can request.
Types of Post-Decree Modifications
- Child Custody/Support: This allows you to change your child custody or child support arrangement.
- Spousal Support: After the divorce, you may still be obligated to support your spouse. If you need to change your spousal support arrangement, you can file for this type of post-decree modification.
- Contempt: If one party can prove that the other party did not follow the court order, this type of modification can hold them accountable.
- Other: Visitation rights can also be changed through a post-decree modification.
Child custody and child support are complicated issues. As time goes on, it’s important to know that your arrangements can change based on substantial changes in your life.
Changes in Circumstances
If your life significantly changes in one of the following ways, then the court can modify your child custody and child support agreements. Those circumstances include:
- A substantial increase in the child’s expenses, such as costs for education, medical needs, age-related expenses, and cost-of-living changes
- A 10% increase in either parent’s income
- An involuntary 10% decrease in either parent’s income
- Either parent’s involuntary job loss
It’s important to know that if you have another child or adopt a child, the courts won’t modify your existing child support arrangements. Simply put, your first family’s financial needs take precedence over your second family’s.
Best Interest of the Child
A judge can grant a child custody modification if it is in the child’s best interest. You can file for this type of post-decree modification if you believe that your child’s life would be substantially improved by changing the arrangement.
It is possible to change your spousal support arrangement, also known as alimony, through a post-decree modification. The standards are similar to the circumstances in child custody and child support modification arrangements.
Circumstances for Modification
If either spouse can show a substantial and material change of circumstances, then it is possible to change the spousal support arrangement. However, if there is a written agreement that both spouses signed stating that the arrangement could not be modified, then the courts will not grant a post-decree modification.
The Modification Process
In the modification process, either party can file a request for modification. The court will then schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the evidence must be presented to show that there is a need for the modification.