Alexander Law Firm Co., LPA
A Legal Professional Association

Post Decree Matters

Post Decree Matters


People often are forced to return to court to modify various terms and provisions of their decree of dissolution or decree of divorce. Some provisions may be modified while others may not. For example, property division may not be modified once the case is final. On the other hand, parenting and child support may be brought back to court and reviewed because the court retains continuing jurisdiction over issues relating to minor children.

Can I modify child support after the Decree is filed?

Child support modifications are the most common post decree modification requested and require the court to find a change in circumstances prior to modifying the existing order. The most common reasons to request a modification of a child support award are the loss of a job, an increase or decrease in income, a change in custody or parenting schedule, the disability of one of the parents or the need for, or changes in, child care costs for the children.

Child support may also be modified if a recalculation of the child support worksheet would result in a ten percent (10%) increase or decrease in the current child support order. If a ten percent (10%) increase or decrease exists, no further evidence will be necessary to establish the required change in circumstances.

Can I modify parenting time after the Decree is filed?

If a custodial arrangement exists you can always file a motion to modify custody, parenting time or any provisions relating to minor children. The court will require a change of circumstances to be proven to change custody or modify the terms of a custody agreement.

If a shared parenting plan exists you can always request to modify the terms of the plan or to terminate the plan and award custody to one parent. The court will require a change of circumstances to be proven to terminate the shared parenting plan and award custody to one parent.

Can I modify spousal support after the Decree is filed?

If no spousal support was awarded in the decree of dissolution or decree of divorce, a statement indicating the court has no jurisdiction to modify that provision likely appears there as well.  

If spousal support was awarded, it may be subject to modification. The answer to this question depends on the specific language of the separation agreement or decree. Many shorter length spousal support awards are not subject to modification while some longer term spousal support awards are subject to modification only upon a showing of change in circumstances.

Cohabitation is a common reason existing spousal support obligations are challenged. The specific facts and circumstances of each case, however, determine whether the spousal support award is vulnerable to challenge or not.

I want to move after the Decree is filed, can I Relocate?

All shared parenting plans and most custody agreements contain a Notice of Intent to Relocate provision which outline the procedure the parent desiring to relocate must follow and to whom he/she is required to provide notice prior to doing so. 

If the residential parent is relocating, the issue may be brought back before court to determine whether it is still in the minor children’s best interest for that parent to have custody or remain the residential parent. In other instances, parenting time will need to be modified to accommodate the relocation.

If the court is forced to decide these issues, in addition to the basic custody factors, it will consider: the distance, the relationship of each parent to the child, the parenting history, which parent has been the primary parent, the proximity to extended family, the reason for the move, the new proposed community and any other factors relative to the relocation.

What is Contempt?

Contempt exists when one party fails to comply with a specific provision of the decree of dissolution or decree of divorce. Contempt is most commonly filed as the result of a parent’s failure to pay child support or comply with some other parenting provisions but Contempt can also be related to property distribution. For example, an action for Contempt can be brought for one spouses’ failure to transfer assets or title to assets, failure to refinance real estate or to pay marital debt such as credit cards as ordered.

Penalties for contempt are quasi-criminal in that domestic relations court judges have the ability to sentence the person found a person to be in contempt to jail. Additional sanctions can be imposed such as fines, court costs and attorneys fees.

            Call Christopher M. Alexander at (513)228 - 1100

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