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Decree Modification

What Is A Post-Decree Modification?

Navigating the maze of divorce can be overwhelming. Even after the final decree has been issued, challenges can arise, leading to further legal proceedings. These subsequent actions are known as post-decree modifications.

Understanding Post-Decree Motions

Once a divorce is finalized, any further disputes or necessary changes related to the divorce decree are addressed through post-decree motions. Essentially, this is a mechanism for one party to claim that the other has not adhered to the court’s ruling, often leading to another round of litigation.

In situations where one party believes the other has defied a court order, like neglecting alimony payments, they may attempt to resolve the issue personally. However, if these efforts fail, the aggrieved party can resort to legal means, filing a motion to seek court intervention. A prevalent type of this motion is the “contempt” action, asserting that one party is in contempt of court for not following the original order.

Common Issues Addressed By Post-Decree Motions

1. Child Custody & Support: Issues surrounding child custody, visitation rights, support, and healthcare often lead to post-decree modifications. The court maintaining jurisdiction over the original decree also oversees these subsequent matters. If there’s a significant change in circumstances or if it’s deemed in the child’s best interest, a parent can request a change in custody. During these proceedings, a guardian ad litem might be appointed to represent the child’s interests and ensure their welfare.

2. Alimony: Changes in spousal support or alimony can also be a trigger for post-decree litigation. Alimony might be modified if there’s a significant unforeseen change in one’s financial status. However, courts closely examine such claims to ensure there’s no intentional evasion of alimony responsibilities.

Initiating A Post-Decree Modification

Starting a post-decree litigation involves filing a motion. This motion should bear the original case details. Moreover, the party initiating this motion must notify the other party. Following this, a hearing is scheduled either before a judge or a magistrate, depending on local regulations.

Before a trial starts, both parties might undergo “discovery” to gather pertinent information. This process can include oral depositions, interrogatories, and requests for written admissions or document production. It’s a complex phase that demands a comprehensive understanding of local laws.

Reaching A Settlement

Settling disputes outside of the courtroom is often a preferred approach for many divorcing couples. When both parties find common ground and agree upon terms to resolve their differences, they can then inform the court of their mutual agreement. This often results in a faster resolution, as it streamlines the process and can negate the need for a prolonged trial. Not only does this save time, but it can also reduce the emotional and financial strain on both parties.

However, if consensus remains elusive and no agreement is brokered, the case inevitably proceeds to trial. In such a setting, both parties present their respective evidence, witnesses are called forth, and testimonies are heard by the judge or magistrate. The trial can be an exhaustive process, emphasizing the value of attempting to find an amicable resolution beforehand.

Tips For Navigating post-Decree Modifications

Handling a post-decree modification can be a daunting process, especially after the emotional and legal complexities of a divorce. To ensure a smoother journey through this next phase, consider the following tips:

1. Stay Calm and Objective: Emotions can cloud judgment. Approach the situation with a clear mind, focusing on facts rather than personal feelings.

2. Document Everything: Keep thorough records of communications, agreements, or breaches related to the decree. Such documentation can be crucial if you need to present evidence.

3. Seek Mediation First:  Before escalating to litigation, try mediation. A neutral mediator can help both parties reach an understanding, often reducing emotional and financial strain.

4. Hire A Knowledgeable Attorney:  Engage a competent family law attorney to ensure your rights are upheld and to receive tailored legal advice.

5. Prioritize The Children:  In modifications involving child-related matters, always focus on the best interests of the children, aligning with the court’s perspective.

6. Stay Informed and Prepared:  Familiarize yourself with the legal criteria for post-decree modifications and any changes in family law. If heading to court, gather the necessary documentation and prepare your statements thoroughly.

By adhering to these consolidated tips, you can streamline the post-decree modification process, ensuring a smoother experience and favorable outcomes.


Navigating the aftermath of a divorce can often be as complex as the divorce process itself. Disputes that arise post-decree, while undoubtedly challenging, are not insurmountable. With the correct legal framework in place, these challenges can be addressed effectively and justly. Post-decree modifications, in particular, play a pivotal role in this. They act as a safeguard, ensuring that all parties involved adhere to the agreed-upon terms, and provide a structured platform to address and resolve any subsequent disagreements or changes in circumstances.

Furthermore, the intricacies of family law and the potential emotional turbulence of post-divorce disputes make it all the more essential to have a guiding hand. For individuals grappling with such disputes, seeking the expertise of a seasoned family law attorney is not just beneficial—it’s imperative. These professionals can offer invaluable insights, tailored advice, and strategic direction, ensuring that one’s rights are protected and the best possible outcomes are achieved. In essence, while the road post-divorce may have its bumps, with the right support and legal counsel, it can be navigated with clarity and confidence.

Modern Family Law

Modern Family Law’s team of experienced family lawyers takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. Our experienced team of attorneys is prepared to consult with you regarding any questions related to family law matters. Using innovative technology to create an effective and efficient process for our clientele, our attorneys approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for each family. We understand the financial burden a family law matter can have on an individual. As such we have created our industry-first SimpleStart™ program, providing people a chance to reduce the amount of money needed upfront to start their case. For more information please give us a call or fill out a short form online to sign up for a free consultation today! Let us make a positive difference in your life.

By: MFL Team

Posted October 16, 2023

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