After a dissolution of marriage, dissolution of civil union, or allocation of parental responsibilities case has concluded, you may find that there is a need to petition the court for a modification of the current court orders, usually due to changed circumstances. Post decree modifications can occur in many different areas, such as parenting plan modifications, child support modifications, and modifications to maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support). The legal standard to modify a court order depends on the type of modification you are seeking.
While many orders can be modified, generally orders regarding the division of martial property and debts are not modified post-decree, absent a finding that a material asset or debt was not disclosed during the dissolution process. If a party failed to disclose an asset or debt during the dissolution, there is a period of time after the dissolution during which the court can reopen the case and enter new orders with regard to the division of property and debts.
If you are considering a modification to a court order, there may be steps that you can take before seeking the modification to increase your likelihood of success. For example, if you don’t believe a parenting time schedule is working for your child, you should start collecting information to support your claim, such as noting changes in your child’s behavior or changes in your child’s academic performance, etc. This information is helpful in a mediation or collaborative law setting, as it helps your co-parent understand your concerns better. It is also helpful in a litigation setting, as this may form the basis of your evidence.
If you would like to discuss the pros and cons of a post decree modification, as well as brainstorm what information you should be gathering prior to seeking a modification, please contact our office at 970-797-3407 or through our online Contact Us form to set up an initial consultation with Ms. Monty.