Post-Decree Motions: Issues And Process

Your divorce decree contains the court's directives that both of you must follow. However, you can use post-decree motions to change specific directives in the decree. Below are directives you may want to change and tips to handle the motions.

Potential Issues

You can use post-decree motions on many things. Below are some examples.

Child Support

You can use a post-decree motion to ask the court to lower or increase child support payments. You must prove that a substantial change has occurred since the court made ruled on it. You may also need to prove that the change will benefit the child more than the status quo.

Consider a case where you are involved in an accident shortly after finalizing your divorce. You can use a post-decree motion to request additional child support if your injuries prevent you from working.

Child Custody

You can file a motion to change the child custody and visitation issues if the current arraignment isn't working for the child. Again, the court will only grant your petition if you show a valid reason for the change.

Consider a case where the custodial parent enters house arrest after the divorce. You can use that ground to request the child's custody if the arrest conditions interfere with the parent's care for the child.

Spousal Support

Post-decree motions are not just about children; you can also use them to modify spousal support. Consider a case where the other parent lands a lucrative job shortly after the divorce. If you had been paying alimony to the other parent, you could petition the cost for reduced alimony due to the other parent's income increase.

Procedure Overview

The specific method for modifying your divorce decree depends on your jurisdiction. However, many states will expect you to follow the following procedures.

File Your Motion

First, fill out the relevant forms and file your petition in court. You may also need to attach documentary evidence supporting your claim. For example, you can use your pay stubs to prove your reduced income.

Serve Your Former Spouse 

The person who files the post-decree motion must serve their ex-spouse with the petition, just as it happens with divorce cases. The service formally notifies the other spouse of the beginning of the court process.

Conduct Discovery

Depending on the required evidence, you may also need to conduct discovery to get more information on your spouse's situation. Sometimes, discovery may only be necessary if you suspect your partner of hiding relevant information.

Attend a Hearing

The court may arrange a hearing to listen to your submissions and rule on the petition. Note that the court's ruling is binding, and you must abide by it.

For more information, contact a family lawyer near you.

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