Post Judgment

The post judgment matters that typically arise involve either enforcement of an entered Judgment of Divorce; an application to reduce or increase support due to a change in circumstances of either spouse; or a change in custody involving minor children. Another reason for a post judgment motion could be that an issue has come up that was either not contemplated or inadvertently left out of the Judgment of Divorce

Enforcement Applications

This type of application is usually very straight forward. For instance, a spouse is ordered to pay $250 per week in alimony and $250 per week in child support, but has only been paying a grand total of $400, accruing arrears of $100 per week. The payee spouse has every right to bring an application before the court requesting that the payor spouse be held in contempt for not abiding by the previous order, to pay the amount he/she has been ordered to pay and to pay all arrears within a time certain. Anything ordered by the court and memorialized in a judgment of divorce that is not being complied with can be the subject of an enforcement motion. As stated above, the initial application is usually very straight forward; the responsive pleadings, however, can create a legal issue that may require more litigation.

Request to Increase or Reduce Support

Awards of alimony and child support are almost always modifiable. If one party or another has a change of circumstance that would warrant an increase or decrease in the initial monetary award, then either party may make application to the court in order to seek such relief. The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating a threshold showing of a change in circumstance (i.e., an increase in the dependent spouse’s income, or a non-temporary decrease in the supporting spouse’s income) This must be done before the court will order discovery or financial disclosure from the other spouse. If there is a genuine dispute as to a material issue, the court may order a post-judgment plenary hearing.

Changes in Custody

This type of post judgment application can be devastating or peaceful or everywhere in between. Sometimes, an older child is having conflict with the parent of primary residence and all parties agree that the child would be better off living with the non-custodial parent. This change in residence, if permanent, has long lasting consequences, yet all parties have agreed as to how they will handle things and simply wish to formalize their arrangement by entry of an Order.

Take this same scenario without the cooperation of the parents and conflict will erupt that requires court intervention in order to determine the best interests of the child. This type of post judgment litigation will take into consideration where and how the child will live, the stability of the proposed parent of residence, the school the child will attend, how moving him/her will affect the child’s emotional health, the financial impact upon the child that a change of custody would cause and a host of other considerations, all of which must be examined in order to determine the best interest of the child which is always paramount in the court’s determinations.