What is a Post-Decree Modification?
A post-decree modification is a motion for change filed by either spouse after a marriage dissolution requesting that an existing family law order be changed. Modification orders often include spousal support, child custody, or child support. Either party involved in the divorce or legal separation may file a post-decree motion if there is:
- A substantial change in circumstances since the existing order was made.
- A breach of contract by the other spouse.
Types of Post-Decree Modifications
The most common post-judgment modifications in Pennsylvania include:
- Spousal Support: Either spouse may file a motion for the Pennsylvania court to change the duration or amount of spousal support payments if there is a substantial change in circumstance.
- Child Custody/Support: Post-judgment litigation may arise as a result of any disagreement involving child-related matters, including custody, support, visitation, and health care.
- Contempt: If the paying spouse is defaulting on child support or spousal support payments, the aggrieved spouse can file a contempt action seeking the court to enforce the original order and punish the delinquent ex-spouse.
- Others: Other types of family law decrees, including scheduled parenting time, children’s health benefits, and tax exemptions can also be modified.
Under Pennsylvania law, the parent seeking modification of a child custody or support order must show that:
- There has been a substantial change of circumstances to justify the change.
- The change is in the child’s best interests.
- The changes will benefit the child ultimately.
In Pennsylvania, either spouse can file a motion to change the alimony order if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the original decree was established. Some reasons to file a motion to modify or terminate spousal support include:
- Significant increase or decrease in pay
- Involuntary loss of job
- Addition of children to support
- Relocation to a new city with a lower or higher living cost
- The paying spouse becomes unable to work due to a disability or incapacitation
- Early retirement
- Reduced need for support
- Remarriage of the supported spouse
The Modification Process
The post-judgment modification process in Pennsylvania starts by filing a petition for modification. After filing your motion, you will be scheduled for a court hearing. During the hearing, you will provide the presiding judge with tangible reason to modify the family law order. If your reasons are genuine enough, the judge will make necessary changes and issue new court orders to reflect the changes. An experienced family law attorney can help present your case diligently and improve your chances of a favorable outcome.
Why You Need an Attorney
A post-decree modification, including spousal support agreement, child custody, support, or visitation schedule change can have a significant impact on your family, children, and future. If you’re considering filing a post-judgment motion or seeking modification of an existing family law agreement, consulting with an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney is crucial to protect your rights.
At Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., I have devoted my career to providing outstanding legal services and handling complex divorce and family law matters related to post-decree modifications. As your attorney, I can review your unique situation and guide you through every step of the modification process. I will work diligently with all parties involved to negotiate a fair settlement agreement and resolve relationship differences productively. I will continue fighting for your rights, your future, and the best interests of your family.