Post-Decree means after the final decree or order in a family law case. This is when many people think the case is over, but it’s often really just beginning. The court has ordered specific things and now it is up to the parties to obey that order. If one party does not obey the order, then they can be held in contempt of court or suffer other repercussions.
Of course, most of us want to avoid issues with the legal system. But sometimes it is necessary to modify or enforce a court order because of non-compliance, non-performance of an obligation or changing circumstances.
This happens in many cases, including child support orders and spousal maintenance orders (formerly referred to as alimony). And depending on the nature of the non-compliance, the former spouse can often request that the court modify the prior court order.
Modifying Court Orders for Child & Spousal Support
In Georgia, either party can file for a modification of a child support order or spousal maintenance order. The party requesting the modification must demonstrate to the court that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the last order was entered.
The court will look at aspects such as:
- The needs of the child or children
- The income of the parties
- The expenses of the parties
- The health and ages of the parties
- Any other factors that the court deems relevant
It is important to note that, just because there has been a change in circumstances, it does not mean that the court will automatically modify an order. The party asking for modification must show that the change in circumstances is substantial and that it would be in the best interest of the child or children to modify the order.
Modifying Court Orders for Visitation
In Georgia, there is no statutory provision for a modification of visitation. A new custody case must be filed, and it can only address the issue of whether to modify the post-decree as necessary.
If you need questions answered about post-decree enforcement and modification cases in Atlanta, please call us at 404.437.6641. Also important: The sooner you act, the better your outcome will likely be.
Post-Decree Modification and Relocation Cases
Life changes—people move because of jobs, marriages and more. For these circumstances, there is a specific statute in Georgia that addresses post-decree modifications and relocations.
If you are seeking to relocate and a custodial or parent agreement and the original court order binds you to your current residence, you must formally notify the courts that you intend to change your place of residence to another town, address or country.
This notification involves filing a motion with the court and providing notice to any other parties in the original court order. You should do this whether you plan to bring your minor child with you to your new residence or not.
If the other parties don’t object to the relocation, then the court will likely grant the relocation motion unless it would go against the best interest of the minor child or children. However, the courts will not approve a relocation if it goes against the child’s best interest.
Bear in mind that relocating may affect your being able to comply with a parenting or custodial agreement. Therefore, it is best to talk to a family law attorney right away about the specifics of your case and your rights.
When an Agreement Can’t Be Reached
While reasons for needing to relocate can often vary, what can’t change is keeping your child’s best interests at the forefront of every decision you make—including when it comes to amending a visitation or shared parenting agreement.
In a perfect world, both parents can work together to amend the original parenting plan through negotiation or mediation. But if cooperation to reach a joint decision doesn’t work out, then the Family Law Attorneys at Bell & Washington can step in and initiate legal action in court for you.
Our professional and skilled attorneys can help you navigate the legal process by mediating, negotiating, making recommendations and filing the proper paperwork needed for a post-decree modification.
Enforcing Court Orders for Child & Spousal Support
If one party does not obey a court order, then they can face enforcement proceedings. In Georgia, the court has broad authority to enforce its orders, and this means that it can use any of several different methods, depending on what is necessary for compliance with the order.
These legal actions aren’t pretty and include:
- License suspension or revocation (driver’s license, etc.)
- Garnishment of wages and other types of income withholding
- Contempt of court proceedings
It is important to note that the court can also order incarceration for contempt. However, this is typically a last resort and usually only happens when other methods have failed.
As you can see, sometimes it is very necessary to go back to court to let them know that the other party is not complying with post-decrees.
Contact the Atlanta Family Law Attorneys at Bell & Washington Today
The Atlanta Post-Decree Enforcement and Modification Attorneys at the Bell & Washington Law Firm represent clients in matters involving post-decree enforcement, modification of judgments for alimony, child custody and property division. We understand that you may be feeling overwhelmed by your current situation. Our attorneys will help you navigate the legal system with sensitivity to your needs and the best interests of your children.
So, if you need help enforcing or modifying a court order, please contact our office for a consultation today. Our Attorneys have more than five decades of combined experience, and we are very family-oriented. We would be happy to provide you with a consultation and review your case. Simply call us at 404.437.6641 or reach out to us using our online form.