Most people think that once a marriage is over and they have a divorce decree in-hand, that’s the end – there’s no going back and making changes, even if they’re necessary. Fortunately, they’re wrong. Sometimes circumstances change, and a judge can modify divorce decrees (and the stipulations within them) to reflect those changes.
Various Post-Decree Motions
Post-decree motions are simply requests for the courts to change some aspect of your divorce decree. Every case is unique, but your lawyer can file post-decree motions to address several issues, including:
- Child Custody. In many cases, when one parent can no longer uphold his or her side of the child custody agreement, or when a child expresses a specific preference that one or both parents want to honor, a modification to the existing child custody agreement can make a positive difference.
- Child Support. When financial circumstances change, sometimes a modification to the child support order is necessary. Perhaps one parent can’t pay as much because of the loss of a job, or maybe one parent is suddenly making a great deal more money than he or she was before, making the amount of child support paid unnecessary or unreasonable.
- Moving Out of State. In order to move to another state, it may be necessary to modify your child custody order; in many cases, these orders explicitly state that the children cannot be moved from Minnesota without express consent from the other parent or from the court.
- Parenting Time. Some parents, after trying to settle into a routine with their parenting time agreements, find that they haven’t made the best possible arrangements. Whether you feel as if you’re not getting enough time with your children or you feel that a different schedule would be easier, you may be able to modify your parenting time agreement to reflect that.
- Spousal Maintenance. When one spouse’s financial situation changes dramatically, the original amount of spousal support that the court ordered might no longer be appropriate. If someone remarries, for example, or gets a high-paying job, the order may need to be stopped or the amount drastically reduced. In other cases, a former payer may lose his or her job and become unable to pay the ordered amount in spousal maintenance.
- Contempt of Court. If your ex is violating the terms set forth in any of your court orders, you may be able to take him or her to court and show that he or she is guilty of contempt. The situations that lead to contempt of court vary widely, so it’s best to rely on your attorney’s knowledge and experience if this is something you’re contemplating.
If your circumstances have changed, filing a post-decree motion might be the best choice you’ll make. Rather than doing complicated acrobatics with your schedule, your bank account or your everyday life, it’s usually best to get something in writing from the court that alleviates unnecessary pressure on you and your family.
Post-Decree Motion Assistance
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