Divorce DecreeThe process of divorce can be painful and at times it feels endless: at the end, when all the decisions have been finalized and the paperwork signed and delivered, it can represent a tremendous relief. Still, circumstances can change, and when that happens it may become necessary or desirable to make changes to the terms that were originally negotiated and agreed to. Though the main focus of the divorce decree, dissolving the marriage itself, is irrevocable without seeking a new marriage, the terms regarding custody, child support and spousal support can be modified if a significant change warrants it.

The first thing that you need to know about modifying your divorce decree is that it is absolutely necessary that you are able to demonstrate a substantial shift in circumstances. The court system has little patience for parties to a divorce wasting the court’s time and resources simply because they are dissatisfied with the terms. That being said, filing a petition for modification of terms is appropriate where you can demonstrate a change in the conditions upon which the original terms were based. Examples might include a dramatic shift in either income or expenses necessitating a change in the amount of child or spousal support being paid or needed. When it comes to child custody, the type of changes that would warrant a change might be a relocation, a change in jobs that make it impossible to adhere to the existing schedule or concerns about the care that the child is receiving.

If you are considering filing a petition with the court to modify support, you will need to provide documentation that validates your claim for a change. If you are seeking additional support, this might include notifications of increased or additional expenses, and if you are trying to have the support that you are paying reduced it might include financial statements, notification of a job termination, recent paystubs or a W-2 showing diminished income, or demonstration of an unsuccessful job search. For shifts in custody, any type of court records or affidavits attesting to mistreatment or negligence to the children, or conversely an improvement in relations with the children corresponding to a request for more time, would be appropriate.

Though divorce is final, modifications to the terms of support or custody can always be made if they are warranted. For more information, contact our office to set up a consultation.

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