Some parts of a General Judgment of Dissolution – specifically division of assets and debts – are not modifiable. Other parts, however – custody, parenting time, child support and spousal support – can be modified under certain conditions. To modify custody or support, you must show that there has been a change in circumstances since the previous order. For parenting time, you must show that a modification would be in the best interests of the children.
A modification proceeding begins by filing a Motion (explaining what changes you want), a Declaration (explaining why you want the changes) and an Order to Show Cause (a place for the judge to sign to reopen the case). Once the Order to Show Cause has been signed by the judge, the moving party must serve the other party, who then has 30 days to file an objection. At that point, the process is very similar to the initial divorce process. The parties can exchange documents; they can negotiate; if necessary, the case can be tried before a judge. The final document in a modification case is called a Supplemental Judgment.