Modification Proceedings in the Probate Court

Frequently after a Judgment has been entered in the Probate Court, circumstances change so that you feel that you need to modify the Judgment for such things as an increase or decrease in child support or alimony, a change in the way that health insurance is provided or paid, changes in parenting times with children, changes in your children’s situations, such as applying to and entering college, or other circumstances. Ordinarily a modification requires a substantial and material change of circumstances, although child support may change in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines rather than having to prove a substantial change of circumstances.

Not every change of circumstances is such that the Court will find that there has been a material change will warrant a modification. It may be beneficial for you to meet with us to discuss all of the circumstances and discuss whether you need legal representation in the modification proceeding.

Contempt Proceedings in the Probate Court

Sometimes after a Court enters an order or a judgment, a party does not comply with the order or judgment, either intentionally, or unintentionally. Prior to filing a complaint for contempt it is important to communicate to the non-compliant party that you believe that he/she has not complied in some way and give him or her the opportunity to correct the situation before filing a contempt. If, however, reasonable attempts to resolve the issue have not been successful, you may need to file a complaint for the contempt in the Probate Court, asking that the court enforce the order or judgment.

In order for a court to find someone in contempt, the court must first find that there was a valid order or judgment requiring the party to do or refrain from an act, that that party has not complied, and that the party had the ability to comply. If the Court finds a party in contempt, it can enter not only orders to enforce the judgment or order but may also order the non-compliant party to pay your costs and reasonable attorneys fees.

You can certainly file a complaint for contempt yourself by filing a complaint for contempt with the Court. The Court will issue a summons, which is the official notification from the Court that a complaint has been filed, and you will have to have the summons and a copy of the complaint filed on the defendant by a deputy sheriff or constable.

The summons will give you a date for the hearing on the complaint for contempt and you will need to go to court on that date and bring with you any documents or other evidence that you have that shows that the defendant did not comply with the court’s order or judgment.

Sometimes this is relatively easy for you to do yourself. Sometimes the issues are more complicated or you feel that you need an attorney to protect your interests. If this is something with which you feel you need legal assistance, contact us for legal representation in this process. We can tell you if we believe that you have the legal basis to file a complaint and if you should have legal representation.