Pennsylvania Post-Decree Modification Lawyer
We Help with Post-Decree Modification Orders
It is a common misconception that court orders are set in stone. Sometimes, dissolution actions are not finalized even after a judgment and decree is entered – it is possible to file a motion to change the provisions of an existing court order.
If you have changing circumstances, such as those relating to income or relocation, you may wish to seek modifications related to alimony, child custody, or child support. The experienced Pennsylvania family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., will work hard to ensure that your goals are accomplished while protecting your rights. You can reach us at (610) 645-0100 for a free initial consultation.
Understanding the Process
In general, judges do not want to change court orders. To modify a dissolution action, you will have to prove that there has been a substantial, material, and permanent change in circumstances. Certain living arrangement and social issues can alter what is possible and what is in the best interest of the children. For example, alimony orders may be modified if the spouse who pays the support now earns much less money, or the receiving ex-spouse remarries.
Types of Post-Decree Modifications
Here are some of the most common types of post-decree modifications we see in our practice:
- Custody modification: If you would like more time with your child, you will have to present evidence that your circumstances have changed since the last custody order was issued. You may also show your child’s physical or emotional health is in danger and that the child should stay with you or spend more time with you.
- Child support modification: Some child support decisions become unfair after circumstances change. You may be able to modify child support orders if there was a substantial increase or decrease in earnings to either party, if there was a change in the cost of living for either party, or if there are extraordinary medical expenses for the child.
- Alimony: To change alimony, there must be a clause in the agreement that allows the previously accepted support to be modifiable. Often, it is agreed that alimony is not modifiable, or not modifiable for a specific term. Pennsylvania law states that unless exceptions are agreed to, alimony terminates upon remarriage, death of either party, cohabitation, or at the end of the agreed term.
- Property division modification: The division of real and personal property is almost always final. You can only modify a property division decision if you can prove that the decision was based on fraud, mistakes, or duress.
How Do I Get My Decree Modified?
If you or your former spouse experiences a substantial material change in circumstances, it is vital to get a veteran Pennsylvania family law attorney in your corner. A petition must be sent to the court, and changes to the modification must be debated before a proposed change to your decree can be made official. Upon a showing of a material change in circumstances, the court determines whether the altered circumstances warrant the changing of the terms of your agreement. The court always places the best interests of the child or children above all other considerations when making changes to child support or custody agreements.
Contact Us Today
If your circumstances have changed since your divorce, you need to discuss your options with a Pennsylvania family law attorney. Make sure you continue to follow the court orders to the best of your ability as you research your options. It's not always possible to modify court orders, but you may be able to adjust custody, alimony, or your child support agreement.
Call the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. at (610) 645-0100 to schedule a free consultation.