Post-Decree Modifications

Once a decree of dissolution of marriage, a decree of legal separation, or a finding of paternity with an award of custody and child support, is entered, either party may seek to modify the orders pertaining to child custody, parenting time, child support, or spousal maintenance, as may be appropriate under the statute.

  • Modification of child custody cannot be requested earlier than one year after the date of the custody order unless the court permits it to be requested on the basis of affidavits that there is reason to believe the child’s present environment may seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental , moral or emotional health. At any time after a joint custody order is entered, a parent may petition the court for modification of the order on the basis of evidence that domestic violence , spousal abuse or child abuse occurred since the entry of the joint custody order. Six months after a joint custody order is entered, a parent may petition the court to modify the order based on the failure of the other parent to comply with the provisions of the order.
  • Modification of parenting time can be requested based upon the best interest of the child(ren). Parents may have a change in their work schedule which then changes their ability to exercise parenting time on certain days or times. Children’s schedules may change requiring adjustments in their availability to either parent. The child’s age and activities may require adjustments in parenting time as the child becomes older.
  • Modification of child support can be requested based upon a substantial and continuing change of circumstances for either or both parents. A variance of at least 15% between the existing order and the proposed new order would be evidence of a substantial and continuing change of circumstances.

Changed circumstances for purposes of child support can include:

  • a change in the gross income of either parent
  • a new child being supported by either parent,
  • a change in the cost of medical/dental insurance for the minor child
  • a change in child care costs
  • a change in parenting time days
  • a change in the cost of education
  • a change in extra-ordinary expenses
  • a child reaching the age of 18 years and being graduated from high school.
  • Modification of Spousal Maintenance can be requested based upon a substantial and continuing change of circumstances for either spouse, unless the parties agreed in the decree that spousal maintenance is non-modifiable. Grounds for modifying spousal maintenance could include a substantial and continuing change in income and/or expenses of either spouse, or a substantial and continuing change in the health of either spouse which changes their ability to work.