The divorce process is often a long and difficult one for the people going through it. It is no wonder, then, that once it is over, the parties involved feel relieved knowing their divorce decree is final. However, while the orders included in a divorce decree are legally binding, that does not mean they cannot be changed in the future.
The courts do not take post-decree modifications lightly, but it is possible to obtain one when a person’s situation changes significantly. If you have gotten a divorce and now wish to modify one or more of the orders, below are some of the most important things you should know about these modifications.
Three Terms that Require Modification
In most cases, there are three issues that may require post-divorce modifications. These are:
Spousal maintenance - The party paying spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, can ask the court to end the order when the recipient remarries. Either party can also petition the court when they experience a significant change of circumstances, such as a job loss.
Child custody - Parenting time orders are modified for a variety of reasons. A parent may move out of state, or one parent may even develop a substance abuse problem that affects the safety of the child.
Child support - All parents in Illinois are expected to financially support their children until they reach the age of 18 or until they graduate high school. Still, the law recognizes that parents should only be ordered to pay an amount of child support they can afford. Any time a parent has a significant change in circumstances, they can petition the court to modify the original child support order.
Essentially, one party can petition the court to change an original order when they feel it is no longer fair or practical.
Reasons to Modify a Divorce Order
Most divorce order modifications require the petitioner to demonstrate that one or both parties have experienced a change in their financial situation or their family circumstances. The most common reasons for modifying divorce orders include:
The payer of child support or maintenance suffers a disability and cannot work as a result.
The recipient of spousal maintenance has experienced a significant increase in their earnings.
Either the recipient or the payer of support has experienced a significant reduction in their earnings.
The recipient of maintenance has remarried.
The payer of maintenance or support has had another child.
The needs of a child have changed.
A child is no longer a minor.
One party wishes to move out of state.
Even when one party finds themself in one of the above scenarios and needs a modification, they must continue complying with the original order until a judge grants the change. If they do not, they may be found in contempt of court.
Contact a DuPage County Family Lawyer
If you have gotten a divorce and now require a post-divorce modification, our dedicated Wheaton, IL family lawyers can help. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, our attorneys have a proven track record of petitioning the court for a change, and we can put our experience to work for you. Contact us today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.