Post-Decree Litigation

If you are divorced and have a life change such as a new job, a relocation, an illness or a remarriage, you may need to modify your divorce decree. An attorney from Phyllis G. Bossin & Associates, A Legal Professional Association, in Cincinnati can help.

Our law firm represents individuals and families in Hamilton and the surrounding counties of Ohio in post-decree litigation and modifications.

Most cases do not end with the journalization of a decree of dissolution of marriage or decree of divorce. When there are minor children or when there is an order for spousal support, it is likely that at some point, the matter will be back before the court.

Property divisions are not modifiable. Therefore, once the divorce is finalized, the property division will not be reviewed. However, there are numerous instances in which support and parenting issues might become matters of dispute:

Relocation. One of the parents to a shared parenting plan or the custodial parent seeks to move out of the jurisdiction. This generally occurs in the event of a new job or transfer or in a remarriage. Relocation cases are extremely complex and difficult to resolve.

These cases often require litigation and a highly skilled courtroom advocate. The court must determine whether, assuming the parent moves, whether it is still in the child's best interest for that parent to have custody or be the primary parent in a shared parenting arrangement.

There are many factors that the court must consider in rendering this decision, including the distance, the relationship of each parent to the child, the parenting history, which parent has been the primary parent, the proximity to extended family, the reason for the move, the new proposed community and many other factors. Presentation of a relocation case requires great skill and preparation.

Child support modification. Probably the most typical post-decree modification is one for child support, which requires a change of circumstances. The need for a modification can be brought about for many reasons, including the loss of a job, the decrease of increase in earnings, a change in the parenting schedule, disability of one of the parents, changes in the child care arrangements and changes in the child's needs.

If a recalculation of the child support worksheet results in a 10% change in the child support amount, this is automatically considered a change of circumstances and no other change need be proved. The burden of proof is on the party seeking the modification. Skilled representation is required to either present or defend a proposed modification.

Spousal support modification. Some spousal support awards are subject to modification. Whether an award is subject to modification is completely dependent upon the express language of the separation agreement or decree of divorce or dissolution.

Some spousal support awards are not subject to modification under any circumstances and some are subject to modification upon a change of circumstances. Often the paying spouse seeks to terminate a spousal support award on the basis that the ex-spouse is cohabiting in another relationship. Such cases require often require extensive evidence as well as legal analysis.

Modification of parental rights and responsibilities. Most orders regarding parenting change at some point in the children's minority. Generally speaking, a change of circumstances is required to change custody from one parent to the other or to modify the terms of a shared parenting plan.

The change of circumstances must be substantial and in the best interests of the child. Post-decree custody litigation can be as complex and as high-conflict as the original parenting determination. There are many statutory factors that a court must consider in determining whether a change of custody is in the best interests of the children.

Contempt proceedings. Contempt proceedings become necessary when one of the parties is not complying with a court order. Such violations might include financial violations (failure to pay support, uninsured medicals, tuition or other relate items), failure to transfer assets or title to assets, denial of parenting time and harassment, to name a few.

Contempt proceedings are quasi criminal proceedings, meaning that someone found in contempt of court can be sentenced to jail and to pay a fine. The violator can also be ordered to pay lawyer fees. Many cases are unfortunately characterized by ongoing violations of court orders.

At Phyllis G. Bossin & Associates, our lawyers have extensive experience in all aspects of post decree modifications and litigation. To learn more or to set up a consultation, contact our office in Cincinnati at 513-421-4420 or use our online contact form.