Post Decree Disputes - Modification & Enforcement
After a divorce is finalized and the judgment entered, it may not be the end of the case; you may face issues regarding the enforcement or modification of court orders.
Orders may be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances; however, simply because one party alleges that has occurred, does not necessarily mean a modification will occur. Issues that may need to be modified including the following:
Maintenance/Alimony: Whether maintenance (formerly known as alimony) is modified depends on the language of your judgment. Circumstances leading to a change could include job loss, increased income, or medical issues. Maintenance terminates if the spouse receiving maintenance remarries or move in with a significant other.
Child Support: Support may be modified based upon similar financial changes as maintenance, and also if there are changes in the needs of the child or the family circumstances such as children being born to newly created families. The change in the child support laws alone are not a basis to modify support.
Decision-making and Parenting Time with Children: To modify orders related to children, the burden is higher, but may be accomplished when there have been changes such as in parents or children’s schedules, someone has or wants to move, or there are problems with the current arrangement. In most cases, mediation is required first, before going to court.
Post-decree enforcement disputes occur when one party does not follow the court order or final judgment. This can be financial in nature such as the failure or refusal to pay child support or maintenance, reimburse for expenses, or take certain actions such as refinancing or listing a home for sale. Disputes can also arise regarding child-related matters, such as not allowing a party to exercise their parenting time or visitation or not following the required decision-making protocol.
Enforcement of an order is typically referred to as “contempt of court,” and depending on the violation, there are various remedies ranging from garnishing wages to going to jail until there is compliance, and modifying the parenting schedule or requiring counseling. Also, the non-complying person may be required to pay the enforcing person’s attorney’s fees.
There may be valid reasons for the non-compliance, and therefore it is important to retain an attorney to help present your defense in those circumstances, or in attempting to negotiate a solution if possible when there has been non-compliance.
Please contact The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson LLC for a consultation regarding the modification or enforcement of court orders and other post-decree issues.Please contact The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson LLC for a consultation regarding the modification or enforcement of court orders and other post-decree issues.