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Understanding Post-Decree Modifications 

E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC Aug. 23, 2022

Things may change drastically over time. There is no way around it. The changes that occur in your life after a divorce may warrant a post-decree modification. Contrary to popular belief, child custody, child support, and spousal support orders are not set in stone.  

After a divorce has been finalized, you might still be able to request a post-decree modification when the circumstances in your life change. The family law attorney at E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC assists clients in Lithonia, Georgia, with post-decree matters and other family law issues.  

Attorney Banks-Ware provides knowledgeable legal advice for post-decree modifications throughout the state of Georgia, including Covington, Decatur, McDonough, Lawrenceville, and Conyers.  

What Is a Post-Decree Modification? 

The term “post-decree modification” refers to a legal motion in which a party requests changes to a court order or agreement after a decree has been issued. Post-decree modifications are not uncommon in family law. The primary purpose of requesting a post-decree modification is to change an existing court order so that it accurately reflects the current situation and needs of the parties.  

However, not all changes in circumstances warrant a post-decree modification. If the existing terms of your divorce settlement no longer work for you, you may need to explore post-decree modification options. You can schedule a case review with a skilled family law attorney to evaluate your particular situation and determine if your circumstances justify a modification.  

Types of Post-Decree Modifications 

Some of the most common types of post-decree modifications in family law include: 

  • Child support/child custody. Either parent can request changes to a child custody or child support order if there are legal grounds for modifying the existing arrangement.  

  • Spousal support. Ex-spouses also have a right to ask the court to modify their existing spousal support order. A post-decree modification can be filed to change the amount, type, or duration of support.  

  • Contempt. A contempt action may be pursued when the other party is not in compliance with the terms of the divorce decree.  

Regardless of why you are seeking a post-decree modification, a knowledgeable family law attorney can help you seek adjustments to your court order to ensure that it reflects your current situation.  

Modifying Child Custody/Support 

When seeking a post-decree modification of child custody or support, the party requesting changes must demonstrate: 

  • A substantial change in circumstances 

  • The requested modification would be in the best interest of the child 

Georgia courts consider the child’s best interests when reviewing requests for post-decree modification of child support and/or custody. A modification of child custody or support can be done upon request from either parent. Whether you need to change a child custody/support order or oppose the other parent’s request for modification, a family law attorney can help.  

Modifying Spousal Support  

If you were ordered to pay spousal support to your ex-spouse or receive alimony payments from your ex-spouse, the arrangement might not last forever. First of all, alimony orders come with an expiration date. Second of all, certain circumstances may warrant a modification even if the order has not expired yet.  

Common reasons to modify spousal support in Georgia include: 

  • Change in income or loss of a job. The most common reason ex-spouses seek a post-decree modification of alimony is the loss of a job or significant change in income.  

  • Cohabitation. Under Georgia law, the payor spouse (the ex-spouse who was ordered to pay alimony) can seek a modification of spousal support if the supported spouse is living with another individual on a continuing and conjugal basis. 

  • Remarriage. If the ex-spouse receiving alimony gets remarried, the payor spouse’s obligation to pay spousal support will be terminated.  

These are not the only circumstances that may warrant a modification of spousal support. Discuss your unique case with a knowledgeable family law attorney to determine if you have grounds for modifying spousal support.  

Get the Legal Support You Need 

If you are divorced, it is vital to remember that life undergoes changes over time. As a result, following the terms of your divorce decree may become challenging. When this happens, you may have grounds to request a post-decree modification. Seek legal guidance from a family law attorney at E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC if you need help seeking a post-decree modification in Lithonia or other parts of Georgia. Call today for a consultation.