Divorce decrees are final, so court rulings cannot be re-decided. This does not mean that divorce decrees cannot be modified – they can be, but only if there is a significant change in the circumstances of the parties.
Generally, the court can change child support, parental rights, and alimony arrangements after a divorce decree. However, it is not usually possible to make changes to a final order that deals with property.
The guidelines for what is or is not a significant change in circumstances vary from state to state, and the decision to grant a modification is often a judgment call that the court must make. Common changes in circumstance include:
To get a modification to a divorce decree you must file with the court for a change in the agreement. It is always best to wait for a considerable period after the divorce is final to be able to really prove that a significant change has occurred. Courts may view modification motions that are filed shortly after the divorce as suspicious, since it may appear as though the moving party is just trying to “do the divorce over again.
The court process for obtaining a decree modification can be confusing and stressful, so it may be wise to meet with a family lawyer. Working with a family law attorney can help you understand your options and help make sure that the proper steps are taken to protect your rights and interests.
Last Modified: 04-08-2015 04:04 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.