Post Decree

Even though a divorce has concluded, a divorce case may continue for years even after a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage has entered.  Below are a description of some of the issues that may occur in divorce cases after a judgment has entered that may require future court proceedings:

Modification of Child Support or Maintenance is a how a child support or maintenance award may be increased, decreased or even terminated.  In Illinois, a child support order and generally a maintenance order may be modified upon if there is a substantial change in circumstance.  See 750 ILCS 5/510.  In addition, a maintenance obligation may be increased, decreased or terminated through the process of review.  Finally, a maintenance obligation may end because of the occurrence of events that cause maintenance to terminate.  See 750 ILCS 5/510 (c).

Removal is another outdated term.  The current version of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act has replaced the term removal with the term “Relocation”.  See 750 ILCS 5/609.2.  A parent who has a majority of allocated parenting time (or at least equal parenting time) with the minor child or children is required to give a statutory notice to the other parent if they moving a certain distance from their current residence (the specific distance is dependent upon where the children are being moved from).  If an anticipated move is in excess of the maximum permitted, the spouse who is moving will be required to give statutory notice to the other parent at least 60 days prior to the move (or the earliest day practical).  The contents of the notice shall set forth, at a minimum, (1) the intended date of the relocation; (2) the moving parties’ address, if known; and (3) the intended length the relocation will last.  See 750 ILCS 5/609.2 (d).  There is no longer a requirement that a party seek an order granting removal if a parent removes a child from the State of Illinois so long as the move is otherwise in compliance with section 609.2.

Modification of Parental Responsibilities is how prior parenting orders or allocation orders dealing with children are changed.  Parental Responsibilities means parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities with respect to the child.  See 750 ILCS 5/600 (d).  A court may not modify significant decision-making responsibilities within two years of entry of an order unless the court allows modification on the basis that a child’s present environment endanger seriously the child’s mental, moral, or physical development or significantly impair the child’s emotional development.  A court may always modify allocated parenting time on the basis of changed circumstances that necessitates modification of an existing parenting schedule to serve the best interest of the minor child.  750 ILCS 5/610.5.

Motions seeking compliance with the judgment may be filed when a one person is not following the divorce judgment or parenting order.  These types of proceedings can be for declaratory and/or injunctive relief or for contempt of court.   If a person is required to seek a court order to enforce the provision of a judgment, that person may be entitled to attorney fees from the other side.