Washington County Family Law Firm Represents Clients Seeking Post-Decree Modifications

Resolving family law issues in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Stillwater and Woodbury, MN

The attorneys at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. understand that families’ needs and dynamics change over time, as children grow up and parents’ lives change. When the circumstances in your life have changed and you need to modify the terms of your divorce, custody, child support or alimony order, our experienced family law attorneys can guide you through the process. We have extensive experience in family law — it’s all we do.

Modifying child support in Minnesota

Minnesota child support laws take into account both parents’ incomes and each parent’s parenting time when determining the appropriate amount of child support. A party requesting an upward or downward modification of a child support order must show that the terms of the existing order are unreasonable or unfair. A party can meet this requirement by showing:

  • Substantially increased or decreased gross income of either parent
  • Substantially increased or decreased need of either parent or the child
  • Receipt of government financial assistance
  • A substantial change in the cost of living
  • Extraordinary medical expenses of the child
  • A change in the availability or cost of healthcare coverage
  • A change in childcare expenses
  • Emancipation of the child through marriage or separate legal proceedings

A change is considered substantial if application of state child support guidelines to the parents’ current circumstances would result in a child support amount that’s at least 20 percent higher or lower than the existing support payment.

Modifications of child custody or visitation

Initial custody determinations are based on the best interests of the child, but modifications of custody are generally based on whether or not the child is endangered by the custodial parent Either parent can ask the court to modify child custody if a year has passed since the latest custody order was issued. In limited circumstances, a parent can seek modification if less than one year has passed since the existing custody order was issued. Minnesota law requires a party to show that the child's circumstances have changed and that a change in custody would serve the child's best interests.

Child endangerment issues

Child endangerment is one of the exceptions to the one-year waiting period for filing for a modification after a custody order has been issued. Endangerment can be sufficient justification for a modification if:

  • The child’s present environment endangers the child’s physical health
  • The child’s present environment endangers the child’s emotional health
  • The child’s present environment impairs the child’s emotional development
  • Any harm likely to be caused to the child by a change of environment is outweighed by the potential advantages to the child

If you believe your child is in danger because of the current custody arrangement, contact an experienced family law attorney without delay to begin the modification process.

Modification of spousal maintenance

Under Minnesota law, a party can reopen a spousal maintenance order if the court specifically left the alimony award open for future modification. Other situations that may justify reopening a spousal maintenance order include:

  •  A change in either party’s financial circumstances
  • Other reasons that make it no longer fair for the spousal maintenance award to apply

If you believe the spousal maintenance in your case needs to be modified, contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss your situation.

Contact an Oakdale family law firm about post-decree modifications

When you need to modify the terms of your divorce, custody, child support or alimony order, the family law attorneys at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. can guide you through the process. We serve clients throughout Minnesota, including in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Eagan and Woodbury, MN. Call us today at 651.760.7524 or contact us online to arrange an appointment. There is no charge for an initial consultation, and flexible scheduling is available.