Modifications to a Custody Decree

Modifications of Divorce Decree

Once you have a divorce decree, the issues previously decided are not necessarily set in stone. The decree may be modified if one party requests it or both parties agree on certain issues they would like to see modified. Typically, the issues that are modifiable in a divorce decree are child custody and visitation as well as child support. However, you normally must show the court there has been a significant change in circumstances to warrant the modification.

A change in circumstance that would allow a judge to modify the previous decree could exist in the form of income changes, parties moving out of state, or perhaps even criminal charges against one parent.

Child Support

Many divorce decree modifications that are filed in the courts pertain to modifying child support. In Nevada you can request a review of your child support order every three years. However, if you or the other party has experienced a significant change in financial circumstances, you may ask for a review. Nevada law considers a significant change to be a 20% or more increase or decrease in your gross income. The court will have a hearing and both parties must again provide verification of their finances and the child support will be recalculated under the child support formula.

Child Custody and Visitation

Due to parties moving out of state or current work schedules being compromised, visitation may at some point need to be modified. Especially if one party moves out of state, the current visitation order will likely not be sufficient. Custody changes may also be requested in some cases such as when a parent faces criminal charges or the custodial parent wishes to move out of Nevada with the children. Although you must be able to present substantial evidence to the court that the change in custody will be in the best interest of the children.

Property & Debt Division

Once property and debt division is determined in a divorce decree, it is not usually modifiable. The division of savings accounts, IRA’s, real property are not typically revisited by the court. There are unique cases involving fraud where one could modify the original judgment. For example, if after your divorce you found evidence that the other party had hidden assets that were not disclosed in the original decree, you could very well be able to modify the divorce decree.

You must also understand the difference between modifying the decree and compelling the other party to follow the decree. Typically child support is not an issue as money is typically deducted directly from their pay. However, counting on the other party to follow the orders of visitation or selling property is another story. If you are having issues with the other party following the orders of the decree, you can always file a motion to compel with the court. The court will likely give them a warning of contempt and more time to obey and fulfill the court order.