What is a Post-Decree Modification?

When many people get divorced, they assume that the judge’s word is final. Many people thus assume that neither party can change how the divorce ruling affects their future. Some situations can let you enact a post-decree modification even after the judge finalizes it. You may think that you and your ex can work this out between yourselves. However, doing things in an informal way like this can open you both up to exploitation and disputes down the line. Courts also don’t tend to favor these sorts of arrangements. A court can and will not enforce an informal agreement without any legal component.

Instead, you should request a formal change to your divorce decree. Please note that this is not the same as appealing your decree. An appeal is best suited for situations where you aren’t satisfied with the terms of your divorce. It is a far lengthier and more complicated process. We can explain your rights and what you can do in this situation if you consult us.

When Can I Modify My Divorce?

Every divorce has a variety of situations leading into it. Just as there are many reasons to divorce, there are many reasons to modify a divorce decree. Some of the more common reasons include the following:

  • A change in employment or profession: Many divorce decrees factor in the parties’ current status. A change in this status can warrant a change in the agreement.
  • Similarly, bankruptcy or serious economic crisis can qualify.
  • Illnesses or serious and severe injury can affect the way an individual can follow the agreement. Thus, adjustments may be needed.
  • Relocation also significantly alters the condition of the agreement and may warrant modifications.

Whatever the situation may be, you may also have different goals in mind. For example, you may seek to modify your alimony, custody, or visitation arrangements. Both parties may be aware of and agree to the filing, or an individual may file the request themselves. Naturally, one version of this process goes easier than the other. When both parties agree on changing, the process is smooth and quick. If there are disagreements, you can use a divorce modification attorney to file the petition for modification on your behalf. If you decide to file the petition, you must notify your ex and wait 20 days for them to reply.

Modification Dismissal

However, there are situations where the courts will dismiss or reject the request for modification. For example, in a case where the party filing the petition owes alimony due to inconsistent payments, the court may order that party to complete missed payments rather than modify the alimony arrangement. Missed child support payments or failure to follow other financial agreements can cause courts to reject a petition.

If you can prove that you’ve upheld your end of any agreements, your chances of the court agreeing are much better. Upholding custody and visitation agreements is another way to show good faith.

Your original divorce decree may have reflected your life at the time of the divorce… But it may not be realistic given changes to your life. If you need help modifying your divorce, the experienced family law professionals at Thompson Law can help you.