A Court enters an Order, sometimes called a “Decree”, after a trial or settlement. The terms of that Order become the law of the case. Property settlement, debt allocation, child custody, parent-time, child support, alimony, and other aspects of a divorcing party’s duties to each other and to the Court are thus established until further order of the Court.

But life goes on. Situations change. Employment, health, relocation, drug or alcohol abuse, incarceration, and many other factors may suggest a need for a new, more workable court order. Sometimes  an existing decree or order simply becomes unworkable or impractical.

There are two ways to modify a court order. One is by stipulation, or agreement. A proposed order filed with the stipulation must show the required basis for modification.

The other is by petition and, if necessary, trial.

In either case the petitioner must prove that there have been substantial and material changes in the lives of a party or children of the parties since the last order, and that a modification would be an improvement for and in the best interests of the children. Do not misuse the legal system by filing orders to show cause or protective orders just for the purpose of trying to obtain a modification.

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