Modifying a Divorce Decree

Typically, when two people divorce, the divorce decree creates a legally binding contract regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, and visitation. It finalizes the provisions of the divorce so each spouse understands his or her responsibilities. However, life never turns out the way most people plan. Some parents might lose their job and might no longer be able to send child support. Others might wish to move to a different state with their child. If you need to change your divorce decree, you need to make what’s called a modification.

Modifying a divorce decree involves a new trial and could take a significant amount of time and money if two former spouses can’t agree on a change. The rules of the new trial will be dictated by an appellate court, and there are time restrictions on when the appeal must be filed.

Modification is usually required when former spouses can’t agree on an amendment. To modify an agreement, a person seeking the change must file a petition with the court that had jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings. A clerk of the court can tell you which forms need to be submitted.

If a judge finds you experienced a substantial change in circumstance, he or she will likely approve the modification if it is still in the child’s best interest. For example, changes in child support could be made if the financial needs of the child have changed or if there is a significant change in income for either parent.

Custody changes can be made if the current custodial situation is no longer in the child’s best interest. For example, if the child is experiencing abuse, neglect, or abandonment, the judge might reconsider child custody arrangements.

A preponderance of evidence is usually needed to make the modification request, meaning at least 51% of the evidence presented favors the person bringing the action.

If you’re interested in modifying your divorce decree, talk to our skilled Dayton divorce lawyers today. L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC has nearly 30 years of legal experience to offer your case. Let us see what we can do to help you meet your goals in court.

Contact us at (937) 685-7006 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation with us today.