Modifications and Contempt Actions

Whether you have been divorced or received some other adjudication from the court, once a judgment has entered the case is over (excluding post-trial motions and filings). When you need the court to change a court order post judgment, usually a complaint for modification must be filed.

Modification actions often follow a similar path as a divorce or paternity matter. Discovery is conducted and it is up to the plaintiff to prove there has been a material change in circumstances since the judgment entered.

Under the new child support guidelines, a child support order may be modified if:

  • There is an inconsistency between the amount of the existing order and the amount that would result from the application of the child support guidelines;
  • Health insurance previously available at reasonable cost is no longer available (or if available but not at reasonable cost);
  • Health insurance not previously available to a party at reasonable cost has become available;
  • Any other material and substantial change in circumstances has occurred.

If you have a divorce agreement where provisions survived, a party has a higher standard of law to overcome.

When meeting with our office to discuss a modification, it is helpful to bring the judgment, the final agreement (if any), financial statements signed at the conclusion of the matter, and any documents that support a material change in circumstances.


If you are looking to enforce a court order to which the other party is not complying, a complaint for contempt would likely need to be filed.

Once a complaint for contempt has been filed, the court issues a summons and schedules a hearing. The Plaintiff needs to serve the complaint and summons and appear in court ready to prove their case. The Defendant needs to be ready to defend himself/herself and explain why they should not be held in contempt.

When consulting with our office to discuss a potential contempt action, we would need to see the judgment and any related documents that support your position.

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