Can you change a court order in a divorce in Wisconsin? If so, how is this done? What if someone isn’t following court orders? How can you enforce an order?
Orders regarding property division are permanent and generally cannot be changed unless you file a Motion to Reopen. A waiver of maintenance at the time of the divorce judgment is also a final order and cannot be changed except upon extreme or unusual circumstances.
However, spousal support, child support, custody and placement (visitation) arrangements do not have to be permanent. They can be outdated, changed or violated. When this happens, individuals must ask the court to grant a modification or to enforce the decree. You must do those by filing a Motion with the court.
The court will entertain a request for a modification of an order if, after a required period of time, there has been a substantial change in your life or the life of the other party that justifies altering the decree. Any of the following may qualify as a significant change:
-A substantial change in either spouse’s income or employment status
-A new health problem which impacts the ability to work
-Moving to a new location
-Substance abuse problems or criminal activity
The exception to this rule is for a period of two (2) years after an original custody or placement order, you must show that the current custody or placement arrangement is harmful to the child(ren).
If one party asks for a modification and the other party doesn’t agree, this dispute can be resolved through negotiation or through the courts. At Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC, we always try to minimize conflict and are local leaders in using collaborative and cooperative techniques to resolve disputes. However, we will also vigorously represent you in court whenever necessary.
If one party fails to pay child or spousal support or refuses to honor the custody and placement (visitation) order, the law provides a remedy through a finding of contempt. Again, a Motion must be filed with the court. If the violation involves child or spousal support, the court can garnish wages or force the violator to pay in other ways. Sometimes, the violator is sentenced to a jail term as well. The court also has broad discretion to come up with other, more creative solutions to force the violator to comply with the terms of the decree.
If a placement order is not being followed, you can file a Petition to Enforce Placement to force the other party to comply with the court order. The court again has broad discretion to enforce a placement schedule, including awarding make-up time, changing the schedule or awarding attorneys fees and costs.
Returning to court is not an ideal option for anyone. However, there are remedies available to you in the event you need to modify or enforce a court order. The attorneys at Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC can assist you with any of these options and advise you as to the likely or possible results so you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to return to court through a post-judgment action. At Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC, we handle modifications, disputes and enforcement cases with compassion and diligence. Our lawyers are prompt, detail-oriented and persistent. For a free initial office consultation, contact us at (414) 258-1644.