After a divorce is final, conflicts may continue or new issues may arise that make it necessary for the parties to go back to court. In some situations, it is possible to obtain a post-divorce modification. However, the courts have an interest in protecting the finality of orders, especially in divorce cases. Before getting a post-divorce modification you will have to meet a few qualifications.
Modifying Parenting Time and Child Support
Courts do not allow the parties to simply ask for a modification because they are unhappy with the result from the last round. Parenting time and child support can be modified if there has been a change in circumstances and if the modification is in the best interests of the child.
A change in circumstances can be anything from permanent changes in one parent's income to a schedule change that allows for more parenting time. The risk in asking for a post-divorce modification is that the other side may also ask for changes and the judge may decide that what the other side proposes is in the best interests of the child.
It is possible for a child support modification request to turn into a case about parenting time. A new custody study may be ordered. The court process for getting a modification can take as long, or longer, than the original divorce if the parties are hostile.
Modifying Property Division
While the court will allow for post-divorce modifications in matters that relate to the children, it is very difficult to get a modification for property division. A change of circumstances is not a reason to get a modification of a property division order. Instead, the party must show that the other party was dishonest, or hid assets. The request for a modification must be brought soon after the party discovers, or should have discovered, the impropriety.
Property division modifications will not be entertained for minor issues. The misrepresentations or concealments must rise to the level of fraud before the court will hear the case for a modification. If a court does allow for the modification of the property division, the party that misrepresented the facts to the court may have to face contempt of court charges, or potentially even criminal charges for perjury.
Divorce and child custody cases are complicated. If you have questions concerning divorce modifications or any other family law issue, please contact a knowledgeable DuPage County family law lawyer today. Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. at 630-665-7676 to schedule a consultation.