Columbus Post-Decree Modification Attorneys
Once a divorce or custody dispute is finalized, disagreements are still possible and likely inevitable. One ex-partner may refuse to follow the parenting time schedule, or an ex-spouse may not be paying the court-ordered spousal support.
While the optimal plan would be to seek some form of resolution outside the court system, like getting a mediator or talking it out on your own, you may be forced to rely on other legal options, like litigation.
Getting the help of a knowledgeable Columbus family law attorney can help your post-decree modification efforts, especially when your ex-spouse is acting difficult or refusing to follow the court orders. Rely on the Arenstein & Andersen, Co., LPA team for your best chance at settling the matter quickly and fairly.
What Are Post-Decree Modifications?
A post-decree motion is filed when there is a dispute between two legally separated parties after the divorce has been finalized or the initial order in a custody matter. They can cover a variety of topics finalized in the court orders. These modifications may result from a change of circumstances or because one party feels as though the other is not abiding by the court’s orders. In this event, the “offended” party, or the one who believes the other has not been following the finalized divorce decree or parenting plan, will likely file a motion for contempt.
Contempt of Court
When one party is not honoring the final terms of the court order, whether it be the separation agreement or parenting plan, the offended party can seek redress through the court. When a person is aware of the court order and neglects it without valid justification, the court can find that person to be in contempt of its orders.
A contempt action is meant to bring the person violating the court order into compliance. You will need to prove your ex-partner is not complying with the divorce or custody terms. If the court determines that one party is in contempt of court, it can issue orders to remedy the contempt and require that the offending party pay the other party’s attorney fees and costs incurred as a result of their wrongful conduct. The court can also issue fines and other penalties.
A finding of contempt may also affect parental rights and responsibilities. If a court determines that one of the parents is not following the court orders, it may find it appropriate to modify custody or parenting time orders.
If you believe your ex-spouse or partner is not abiding by the court orders or if you find yourself facing allegations that you violated court orders, an experienced family lawyer can improve the odds of the court ruling in your favor.
Modifying Child Custody or Visitation After the Final Order
It is not uncommon that at some point after the initial order is made whether by agreement or after trial that a party determines that a change is needed. For instance, one spouse may have been awarded sole parental rights, but something in their or the child’s life has changed their expectations. Alternatively, you may attempt to co-parent and find that it is difficult and impossible to do so despite your best efforts. A court will likely agree to a child custody modification if it is in the child’s best interest.
Per Ohio law, there should be a change in circumstances since the last order was issued such that the prior orders are no longer in the best interests of the minor child. As a result of this change, it may be appropriate to modify orders regarding custody or child support. . Such changes include loss of a job, relocation, illness, safety issues, or new needs of the child. In contested matters, a Guardian Ad Litem may be appointed to review the case and recommend changes for the court related to the minor children.
Just like during the custody arguments in the initial proceedings, a judge may consider the child’s wishes, but their preferences are not enough to modify the parenting plan on their own.
Changing Spousal or Child Support Payments in Ohio
A court may allow modifications to child or spousal support obligations when there are new circumstances for one or both parties involved and if the original orders permit the modification. If one spouse has been injured or is making significantly more than before the divorce, a judge may rule they can modify the divorce decree to pay a different amount. Child support obligations are generally always reviewable by the court. This does not mean that the court is always persuaded that a modification is appropriate.
Spousal support differs from child support payments in that the court may be prohibited from ordering future modifications. Essentially, the parties’ final divorce documents must indicate whether the spousal support can be modified and often provide for circumstances under which an established order may be modified or terminated. It is essential to properly address spousal support in your divorce. However, before you seek any changes, you will also need to check the language of the divorce decree to determine if and when a modification may occur.
Having an attorney help you with your post-decree modifications can ease the process substantially, especially when there are complicated matters to prove.
How Do Post-Decree Modifications Work?
When it is evident that certain terms of a finalized court order are insufficient, unrealistic, or unobtainable, it may be time for you to file a post-decree motion with the court. You will need your original case number, documents filed previously in the case, and related post-decree paperwork. Similar to when a divorce or custody proceeding is initiated, the other party must be served with a copy of the motion.
A hearing with a court official, either a judge or a magistrate, will take place on the motion. In emergency situations, there are opportunities to expedite a hearing in order to prevent irreparable harm to a minor child. Similar to the initial filings, parties will generally be permitted to conduct discovery parties, meaning there could be depositions taken, written interrogatories completed, and requests for the exchange documents between parties. However, the court could limit the discovery process, so having an attorney familiar with Ohio family law will benefit you.
Contact Arenstein & Andersen, Co., LPA for Help with Your Post-Decree Modifications
Ohio family law is a tricky business, and post-divorce life can take a lot of adjustment. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances make orders sense inappropriate and unworkable. A parenting time order that was put in place when a child was two years old may not make sense when she is sixteen and has her own schedule and preferences. Even if all parties agree to a modification, the courts often require that certain agreements and paperwork be completed to make that agreement enforceable. Seeking a post-decree modification can be a daunting task on your own but having an attorney with family law expertise and dedication can help simplify the process.
If you feel the final terms of your divorce need to be modified to be more equitable, contact the Arenstein & Andersen, Co., LPA team today. Our lawyers can help you file a post-decree motion and argue your case for you, giving you a better chance of getting new terms.