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What Is Post-Decree Litigation?

Post-decree motions are sometimes filed if a divorced couple participates in what’s known as post-decree litigation. This essentially means they’re fighting over issues subsequent to the final divorce decree, and now they’re going back to court in order to resolve them.

Frequently, one ex-spouse claims that the other one has disobeyed a court order contained in their Divorce Decree. For instance, an ex-spouse may claim that the other failed to pay spousal support or child support as ordered by the court. They can try to work their issues out on their own. However, if that fails, the upset spouse may need to file a motion asking the court to impose the original court order and penalize the offending party. This is commonly referred to as contempt.


A party may also decide to file a post-decree motion even if both parties are honoring the current court orders in order to modify certain provisions of the current order.

Disagreements over issues related to children, including support, custody, healthcare and visitation rights are often a huge cause of post-decree litigation. In every case that involves underage children, the court that first issued the initial decree maintains its jurisdiction in order to hear any future matters regarding the children. Unlike spousal support, where the court has to specifically retain jurisdiction in order to modify it later, the court always retains jurisdiction over issues concerning minor children while the children are still considered to be minors in the State of Ohio. This is known as the court’s continuing jurisdiction.

If numerous legal tests have been met, a court may decide to alter the current custody order. Overall, the parent who wants to change the custody details must present the court with the following:

  • The advantage that will result from the change will overweigh any possible damage;
  • The custody change is what’s best for the child; and
  • A significant change in circumstances has happened since the initial custody order was established.