What is a Post Divorce Modification?

Let's start by clarifying a divorce decree. Simply, it reflects the court order dissolving the marriage. But after receiving the decree, some issues may remain unresolved. Or perhaps circumstances have changed, and the decree requires changes. So that's where a post-divorce modification comes into play. It allows couples to address issues with the initial order by filing a motion. Then, they return to court to resolve the problems. Consult with a divorce lawyer near you to learn more.

For example, the divorce decree may call for your spouse to pay support. However, your spouse fails to make those payments as required. You can file a motion to amend the divorce decree. Talk to your divorce lawyer if you have a situation where you'd like to file a motion to modify a divorce decree.

If you have additional questions or concerns about divorce, make sure you read the section on Divorce Guidance. Our divorce lawyers compiled comprehensive information on the critical topics of divorce.

Support Issues Often Require a Post Divorce Modification

Any number of circumstances lead to motions for post-divorce modifications. However, support issues are often the most common:

  • Spousal Support: Many divorce decrees allow for spousal support modification or even termination. However, the initial order must include a clause to that effect. In addition, some agreements specifically exclude the ability to modify alimony payments. Unless you present an exception, Pennsylvania law terminates alimony with remarriage, death of either party, cohabitation, or conclusion of the agreed-upon term.
  • Child Support: Like spousal support, you may revisit child support to increase or decrease support. Either spouse can request a post-divorce modification, for example, if they can demonstrate a substantial change in financial circumstances. What constitutes a sufficient change in circumstances varies from case to case. Some examples of changed circumstances include:
    • Changes in the child's age that require an increased need for child support
    • Change in one parent's employment situation
    • Receipt of a large inheritance by a parent;
    • Emancipation of a child
    • Changes in the physical custody of the child.

Other Issues Requiring Amending a Divorce Decree

Apart from support issues, other typical issues that require a lawyer for divorce to file a post-decree modification include:

  • Relocation: If one parent moves, it potentially impacts custody or visitation issues. So it's best to consult with your divorce attorney immediately if you consider relocating for work purposes or changing life circumstances.
  • Property: Property distribution often takes considerable time to resolve fully. Sometimes, you might accidentally overlook a property or fail to disclose one. However, that failure opens the door for a post-divorce modification.
  • Contempt:  Sometimes, a party to a divorce fails to comply with its various obligations, for example, alimony, child support, custody order, equitable distribution, or maintaining medical insurance. In those circumstances, it may be appropriate to file a motion to modify the divorce decree against your former spouse to compel compliance with the agreement.
  • Estates: Property distribution following a divorce decree may require revisiting if a spouse dies. In addition, Wills and Trusts may have once expressed the parties' wishes but now need updating to reflect current circumstances. Further, many agreements provide for the maintenance of life insurance for some time.
  • Remarriage: Remarriage's legal effects affect child support, child visitation, and inheritance through a will.

Talk to a Divorce Lawyer Near You

Unfortunately, life circumstances can change unexpectedly at any moment. If issues arise after the court enters its decree, you have options. Talk to our divorce lawyers about a post-divorce decree.

We have law offices in Doylestown and Norristown, PA, plus Cherry Hill, NJ. Our law firm offers a range of legal services to support its clients. So if you need a family lawyer near you in Bucks or Montgomery Counties, get in touch. U.S. News recognizes us as one of the Best Law Firms for 2022.

Divorce Attorneys

Mary Cushing Doherty

Mary Cushing Doherty | Montgomery County Family lawyer

Mary Cushing Doherty is a senior partner at our firm. As an attorney, she concentrates her practice on all aspects of marital dissolution and family issues.

Judith A. Algeo

Judith Algeo bucks county pa family law attorney

Judith A. Algeo is a skilled family law attorney in Bucks County, PA. She represents individuals in all matters of family law including divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support and alimony, and equitable distribution.

Shari R. Gelfont Williams

shari gelfont williams at high swartz llp doylestown law office

Bucks County Attorney with 25+ years' experience in litigation with a focus on family law, estate planning, and business disputes.

Divorce Blog

Divorce News