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Modifying Family Law Decrees

Not every divorce or paternity judgment works out perfectly for both parties. Minnesota family law judges would rather have the parties renegotiate a workable agreement than simply try to adjust things on their own, only to end up frustrated and fighting it out in court, anyway.

If you need to change your original Minnesota divorce decree or cannot satisfy the terms of your paternity litigation child support order, call me, attorney Timothy Lees of Lees Family Law, Ltd., in Edina. I have more than 26 years of experience helping people petition the court for modifications that work.

Negotiated Modifications Are Better Than Breaking The Agreement

I also work with clients who need to enforce a child support order or spousal maintenance judgment. In many cases, enforcement is the right thing to do and the obligor (payer) has no good reason to disobey the court order. However, it may also be appropriate to review the circumstances of the original order and negotiate a new settlement that the court will approve. A negotiated modification is far less costly in terms of dollars and emotions than a frustrating battle in court.

What Can Be Modified?

In general divorce property settlements cannot be changed unless there is proof that one party committed fraud by hiding assets during the discovery phase of the settlement negotiations or trial. However, it is possible to modify:

  • Child support orders, if the custodial parent has substantially improved their financial circumstances, you lose your job, you develop a serious health issue or you have substantially increased your amount of parenting time. The modification may be temporary or permanent.
  • Spousal maintenance, if it can be demonstrated that the financial circumstances of both parties has changed.
  • Provisions regarding residential location, if you need to move with your custodial child, you need the permission of the other parent. The courts can — and have — ordered custodial parents to return within the geographic range outlined in the custody order.

Divorce Litigation Appeals

If you feel a judge was in error about evidence or procedure in your divorce, there may be options for a successful appeal. In addition to judgment modifications, I am also a successful divorce litigation appeals lawyer.

Some of my notable cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Minnesota include:

Youker v. Youker, 661 N.W.2d 266 (Minn. Ct. App. 2003)
Geske v. Marcolina, 624 N.W.2d 813 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001)
Tressler v. Tressler, CX-02-1861 (Minn. Ct. App. 2003)
Loesch v. Loesch, CX-02-15 (Minn. Ct. App. 2002)
Durkee v. Durkee, C0-00-1797 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001)
Massman v. Massman, C3-98-1243 (Minn. Ct. App. 1999)

After My Court Order, Can I Make Changes? The Answer Is Often Yes.

Call my office at 952-225-5857 or use my convenient email form to arrange a free consultation. My office hours for consultations are between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. I am often willing to meet on evenings and weekends by special arrangement. Free parking is available near my office building on West 78th Street, Suite 415 in Edina.

I can also make arrangements to meet at a convenient location near you.