Just as marriage does not always end with “till death do us part,” divorces and legal separations do not always end with the “final” divorce decree or other court order. The parties seldom ride off in opposite directions, never to be heard from again. Circumstances can and do change, and ongoing contact is necessary when children are involved. Such situations call for what is known in legal terms as a post-decree modification or enforcement.
Modification means changing the terms of the decree or other court order. Enforcement means forcing one or both parties to adhere to its terms. Usually, the two go hand in hand.
Because of the potential complexity, you should pursue matters such as these only with an experienced Chandler modifications attorney by your side.
When post-decree modification or enforcement might be necessary
Post-decree modification and enforcement matters typically arise when:
- One or both parties fail to do something they agreed to do or do not follow the court’s final orders in one or more respects.
- The parties themselves agree to an alternate arrangement or simply fall into a routine that differs from what is reflected in the decree.
- A significant change in circumstances has occurred, such as a parental relocation to another state or getting a large increase or decrease in pay.
- Something crucial is missing from the decree.
A common scenario requiring post-decree enforcement is when one ex-spouse does not hand over specific items of personal property in a timely manner as the divorce decree requires. Or a party inexplicably makes no attempt to refinance the house, car, or boat, or does not retitle the property or loan solely into his or her name as the judge mandated. Or a parent ordered to make child support payments to the other parent does not fill out the paperwork required to start the wage garnishment.