Orange County Post-Judgment Motions and Proceedings

A post-judgment motion is a vague term used to describe any motion (also called a Request for Order) filed in a divorce, legal separation, annulment, paternity or domestic violence case after the initial judgment has been entered by the court.  There are an extremely wide variety of motions that could be filed post-judgment, and these types of motions are filed every single day in Orange County family court.  Our attorneys are skilled litigators and have filed and defended countless post-judgment motions in family court. There are essentially two types of post-judgment motions filed in family court.  The first type are called “modification” motions, which are motions filed to modify some existing order, decree or judgment (including “out of state” orders).  This occurs when a court makes an order for something, and then either party wishes to modify those orders when there has been a “changed circumstance” warranting a modification.  For example, suppose the court ordered that a Husband pay alimony to a Wife and at that time the Wife was not working.  Later, suppose the Wife got a job earning the same amount as the Husband.  It would likely be a changed circumstance warranting a modification of the order if that occurs. The second type of post-judgment motions are filed to enforce or collect on a previously ordered obligation. The most common types of “post-judgment” cases filed in Orange County family court include the following types of cases:

Modification Cases:

  • Modification of child custody orders
  • Modification of visitation
  • Modification of child support
  • Modification of alimony / spousal support
  • Modification of orders for payments of debt
  • Modification of orders for payment of childcare expenses or unreimbursed healthcare expenses

Enforcement or Collection Cases:

  • Collecting on past due child support
  • Collecting on past due alimony / spousal support
  • Collecting on past due amounts for the opposing party’s share of unreimbursed healthcare expenses or childcare expenses for minor children
  • Enforcing payment on an obligation set forth in a judgment (for example, enforcing an order that a party
  • Collecting on an order for a party to pay a certain expense in a divorce case

One of the most difficult types of cases involves collecting on past due amounts owed under a divorce, legal separation or other family law case, typically past-due child support or spousal support.  For more information about collections issues and cases, click here.  Our office specializes in these cases and we handle them across the entire state of California.

As mentioned above, the prerequisite for filing a post-judgment motion is there must be some kind of changed circumstance warranting modification.  Many of our clients ask us: “What Constitutes a Changed Circumstance” in family law cases?  The answer is somewhat difficult to answer as it depends on the unique situation of those parties, the current order being modified, the judicial officer assigned to the case, and so forth.  The first place to start the analysis is to look at the specific language of the order or judgment.  It may set forth limitations to modifying the judgment, such as language that says the terms are “non-modifiable.”

Next, it is helpful to analyze how significant the changed circumstances are to gauge whether the court might order a modification.  The more significant the changes, the better chance for modification of the order.  Finally, some judges are more apt to modify orders and judgments than others. Keep in mind that orders or judgments will not be modified unless a written agreement is executed (which should be filed) or a motion is filed.  It is imperative that you file a motion if circumstances have changed in your favor in order to protect your interests.  The sooner the motion is filed the better.  Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.