Life Doesn’t Stop After a Divorce, and Post-Divorce Modifications Make it Possible to Account for Your Changing Needs
Your divorce decree contains all of the information and specifications necessary to protect both you and your interests following a legal separation. Everything from the amount of maintenance you’re paid or owe each month to child support and custody can change over time. For that reason, your decree should be changeable as well.
At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we regularly revisit divorce decrees of former clients and new clients alike to ensure your personal and economic needs are accounted for. We draw upon over 35 years of expertise in doing so to ensure that when your life changes, an outdated decree won’t prevent you from the stable future you deserve.
If a Significant Life Change Occurs, Almost Any Matter in Your Divorce Can be Revisited
While individuals are often tempted to take their former spouse to court over issues they simply don’t like about their divorce decree, doing so is impossible. In fact, post-divorce modifications are only possible should the financial or living conditions of either you or your spouse change significantly since the drafting and approval of the decree as part of your separation.
- Job loss
- Child-related matters, regarding changes either in parental responsibilities (i.e. child custody) or child support
- Parental relocation, whether for work or other reasons
- New living conditions for one of the former spouses, often due to remarriage or cohabitation
- Spousal support/maintenance/alimony, whether to ask for an increase or decrease
As is the case in the original drafting of your separation agreement, our primary focus is on the best interests of the children. For this reason, it makes sense to pursue a modification to your divorce if it will directly impact the children and their future well-being or if necessary following job loss, a salary change, or other related matter.
If You’ve Experienced Significant Change Since Your Divorce, the Team at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. Can Help
Whether your pay has been significantly decreased or your needs regarding child support have changed, the team at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. relies on over three decades of experience to ensure both you and your family are provided for.
To discuss your post-divorce modification needs or to take advantage of a free, 30-minute consultation with Larry, contact a member of our team at 630-470-9990 or submit a request via our convenient online form.
We look forward to speaking with you and discussing how to best move forward with your potential modifications.
My Divorce is Complete: What Can be Modified?
After you sign your Judgement and Marital Settlement Agreement and appear before the judge for your prove up (i.e. final Court date), your divorce case is technically closed. However, your life will go on and with it, some of the issues addressed in your separation are likely to resurface.
When these issues do resurface, you’ll likely need to return to Court to make what is referred to as “post divorce modifications.” While some may think that they can return to Court and readdress any issues they didn’t agree with as part of their divorce, this isn’t the case.
So, what can you address after your separation is said and done?
There are Two Main Issues That Can be Addressed Post-Decree…
When you return to Court after your divorce is completed, all matters are considered to be “post-decree” (or issues that are being addressed after the divorce).
While many former spouses would love the opportunity to return to Court to readdress issues like property and debt division, among others, there are two main issues common to post-decree matters: Maintenance and those to do with children.
Revisiting the Issue of Maintenance
Many spouses, both husbands and wives, are awarded maintenance as part of their separation. And while the calculation is rather straightforward based on your income, his or her income, and the length of your marriage, spousal support (i.e. maintenance) is often set forth in your Marital Settlement Agreement as a “reviewable” issue.
As a reviewable issue, it means you will receive a set amount of maintenance for a set time frame, often a few years, and then must revisit the Court to either continue maintenance or revise it. The amount may increase or decrease based on your former spouse’s income, changes in your financial circumstances, or other considerations.
You don’t have to wait for the reviewable period to be up to petition the Court to reconsider your maintenance amount either. For example, if you lose your job and need additional maintenance to survive for a short period of time, you may return to Court to seek additional support. You may not always receive it, but it’s an option that remains open to you provided that you were awarded maintenance or “reserved” the right to receive maintenance in your original divorce proceedings.
Revisiting Issues Related to Children
Children will continue to grow up following your separation. As such, their financial and other needs will change over time, meaning that all issues related to children are common post-decree issues. This may include child support (whether you’re receiving it or paying it to your former spouse) as well as parenting time (formerly known as child custody).
Consider this: You’re paying child support to your former spouse, but lose your job and find a new one but are making less money. Because child support calculations are based on your net income, you can return to Court to decrease the amount you owe to your spouse. Likewise, if you need to amend the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (i.e. child custody), you may also return to Court to do so.
Are You Unsure Whether You Have a Relevant Post-Decree Matter to Pursue?
Post-decree matters can be confusing and at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., our goal is to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. We rely on our over 35 years of experience to address your specific needs and ensure you have the support and stability necessary following your divorce.
If you believe you have a post-decree matter and would like to speak with Larry, contact us at 630-470-9990 or using our convenient online form below. We look forward to speaking with you and taking the appropriate action based on your needs.