Can I Modify My Divorce Decree?
It is important, when going through the divorce process, to be as thorough as possible when addressing things like property division, alimony, and child custody, which includes considering one’s future needs. Unfortunately, even parties who use the greatest care could end up overlooking an important matter. In other cases, one of the parties could undergo a significant life change that makes their current divorce agreement unworkable. In these cases, the party in question can seek a post-judgment modification, although doing so can be a complicated and time-consuming process, so if you have questions about changing a parenting plan, alimony agreement, or property settlement, you should speak with a DuPage County, IL divorce attorney who is well-versed in post-decree modifications and enforcement.
Divorce decrees are legally binding orders, so courts are generally wary of modifying their terms. In fact, in some cases, it just isn’t possible to change a decree at all. Illinois judges do, however, recognize that some things are out of our control, or that a person’s circumstances could change after a certain amount of time has passed. A child support arrangement that made sense even a few years ago, for instance, may become obsolete or unworkable, in which case, a court may be willing to review and change the terms of the agreement. In any case, there are really only two ways to modify the terms of divorce-related agreements: by agreement or court order.
Modifying the Terms of Divorce by Agreement
The first option for modifying a divorce decree is to reach an out-of-court agreement with a former spouse. This is often the easiest way to institute a change, although it’s important to remember that couples who go this route will still need to submit the terms of the new agreement to a court for approval. Only once approved will the newly agreed-upon terms be legally binding. There may also be additional requirements for those attempting to make certain changes. For instance, parents who are seeking to modify child support will need to ensure that their desired change complies with the state’s guidelines, or be able to establish why deviating from those guidelines is necessary.
Modifying the Terms of a Divorce by Court Order
When reaching an out-of-court agreement with a former spouse is not possible, the party seeking the modification will need to file a motion with the court and establish that the modification is necessary due to a substantial life change, such as:
- A job loss or significant pay cut
- The remarriage or cohabitation of one of the parties
- The attempted relocation of one of the parties
- A serious medical condition
The types of evidence used to prove that such a change exists will depend on the specific circumstances involved, making it especially important for those seeking to modify the terms of their divorce, to speak with an attorney who can start building their case.
Call Today for Help with Your Modification Request
To speak with an experienced Lombard post-decree modification and enforcement lawyer about your own request for modification, please call Aldrich & Siedlarz Law, P.C. at 630-953-3000 today.