When a divorce is finalized, the parties are typically relieved to know that the disputes have been resolved, at least legally, and that they have a final order on which to rely when making decisions about issues such as parenting time, spousal and child support. The parties generally feel some measure of closure as divorce proceedings wrap up, even when they did not get everything they sought or had to make some compromises along the way. However, it is possible to modify a decree in Illinois. As such, if you are seeking to modify the terms of your divorce decree, an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the process.
Disparate Circumstances Can Lead to Conflict Over Divorce Terms
A divorce is meant to be final. The truth is, however, that people's circumstances do sometimes change, and the terms of a divorce decree may no longer be fair and just, given the change in one party's financial standing, for instance. Unfortunately, conflict typically stems from the parties' disparate positions. While one party has experienced a life change of one sort or another and feels the divorce terms are no longer suitable, the other party often resists any changes to the divorce decree and clings to the feeling of finality and closure it brought at that time.
The Modification Dispute
For example, if one former spouse loses their job and can no longer afford to make the same spousal support payment, they may be seeking modification of the portion of the divorce decree that dealt with support for the former spouse. The spouse receiving the support may, however, wish the keep receiving the same amount, either because they have come to rely on it, or because they simply feel it is owed to them since a judge had previously agreed that the amount of support was appropriate.
Common Reasons for Requesting Modification
There are numerous reasons parties may seek modification of a divorce decree. Some of the most common reasons for requesting the court modify the terms of a divorce include:
- Change in financial situation for the support-paying party, including job loss, reduced pay, or disability;
- Change in child custody or parenting time due to relocation of child or parent, alleged abuse or unfitness of custodial parent, or refusal of one parent to comply with terms of parenting plan; or
- Change in the financial status of the non-paying party, such as a significant salary increase, remarriage, or large inheritance.
Property division orders, however, are almost never modifiable in Illinois.
Consult an Experienced Family Law Attorney in DuPage County
No matter what type of divorce decree modification you are seeking, our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys are here to help you seek equity and fairness in the terms of your divorce, even when that means making changes to the original divorce decree. Call us today at 630-871-1002 for a free initial consultation.