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Chicago Post-Decree Dispute Lawyers



Helping Clients With Post-Decree Disputes

Many couples assume that, once they divorce, the terms of the divorce are set in stone. However, this isn’t true. If circumstances for either ex-spouse change, then they can dispute the order to ask the court to change the terms of the divorce agreement. Doing so can be difficult, however, especially if the divorce was already a contentious one. Bringing the terms back into question can open old wounds, and lead to emotional turmoil and stress.

That is exactly why you should work with an experienced divorce attorney. We at Nottage and Ward, LLP, know how difficult divorce can be on a person, which is why we are so dedicated to providing much-needed support to our clients. If you are going through a post-decree dispute and are at a loss on what to do, call our firm at (312) 332-2915 today. We are ready to help.

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What Is a Post-Decree Dispute?

An Illinois post-decree proceeding takes place after a decree of divorce, legal separation, or dissolution of marriage. A post-decree proceeding may address parental rights and responsibilities, parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), and other arrangements, including modification and or enforcement issues. The purpose is to make changes to the set terms of a divorce, allowing either divorcee the freedom to alter these terms in case there is a sudden change in life or lifestyle.

Post-decree disputes can arise when unforeseen circumstances develop for either former spouse. Some examples include one party being laid off or getting a pay raise that may result in child support and maintenance adjustments, or one parent relocating to another city or state, which could affect parenting time. Many divorcing couples believe that once the decree of divorce is complete, it’s final. However, because finances, lifestyle, and other circumstances can change without notice, couples may still need court intervention even after their Illinois divorce is finalized.

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The Post-Decree Dispute Process

The first step is to file the post-decree change request. You should make it clear what terms you want to be changed, and why. Simply going to the court and making a request won’t work. You need to be able to explain why it is that you need the change implemented. This will usually come down to a sudden upset in your life, such as being laid off, moving, or even getting married again.

Ultimately, dispute or modification proceedings are decided by a judge. However, if strong evidence of material changes of lifestyle or monetary responsibilities is properly presented, modifications will likely be made to the existing decree. Both parties may seek or oppose a modification. If you want to dispute a post-decree change, then you should be prepared to voice why you feel things should not be changed. Always keep in mind that the judge as final say, and may disagree with you.

There are many issues that can be addressed during a post-decree proceeding, such as the division of property. However, division of property issues that were not handled in the divorce decree may require attention at a later time. While Illinois does not allow for modification of property distribution, items that were not disclosed or addressed can be dealt with in a post-decree.

Document efficiency may play a key role in whether or not a post-decree can be made or modified. For example, if a divorce decree specifically states that maintenance may not be increased, no matter the circumstances, a court will usually uphold those wishes. To ensure that the wishes of the divorcing couple are properly enforced and valid, it is important to have all documentation reviewed by an attorney.

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How a Post-Decree Dispute Impacts Children

As the divorce decree is handed down, it normally sets how parental responsibilities are split between the two parents. However, circumstances for one or both parents can change over time. While one parent may have worked a job with flexible hours, allowing her to take on a majority of the parenting time hours, she may have had to switch careers, and now works an office job that requires her to be away from home 9 to 5. On the other hand, one parent who hadn’t been able to take as much parenting time previously may get a job that involves working from home, allowing him to spend more time with his child.

When these things occur, one of the parents can request a change to the parenting responsibilities through a post-decree dispute. In order for the change to be considered and approved, the parent who requested it must be able to show the court that:

  • There has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order
  • The new change would be best for the child
  • Any possible benefits of the change would outweigh any potential harm

Keep in mind that the court will always put the best interests of the child above everything else. If a change in parenting responsibilities will help the child grow and develop properly, then the court will probably approve the post-decree dispute. However, if the change could cause significant harm to the child’s wellbeing, such as if it involves moving the child to a new state where he doesn’t have a support system, then the court will most likely reject the post-decree request.

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Contact a Chicago Divorce Attorney

At Nottage and Ward, LLP, our Chicago family law attorneys understand how emotions can run high when post-decree issues arise. That is why we provide rational and effective solutions specific to each of our clients’ unique situations. Whether you would like to enforce stipulations of your divorce judgment that your ex is not adhering to, or you believe that details of your decree should be altered, our law firm can help set matters straight.

We pride ourselves on providing reasonable and realistic legal counsel to divorcing couples and have extensive experience in handling financial, parenting, divorce disputes, and other family law matters. With over 30 years in business, our Chicago divorce attorneys have the competency and skill to ensure that our clients are treated fairly and that all legal agreements, including divorce decrees and post-decree modifications, are upheld according to Illinois matrimonial law. For the legal help and support you need, call our firm at (312) 332-2915 today.

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Client Reviews

Five Stars5 Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for

Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for in a very complicated, emotional matter. She has continuously looked out for my best interest and the best interest of my son. She is always prompt in getting back to me and in keeping me well informed about my case.
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Avvo Top Contributor Family Law - Jeffrey Knipmeyer
Avvo Top Contributor Divorce Law - Jeffrey Knipmeyer