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Modifying your divorce agreement

Divorce is often a messy, complicated matter, and the finalization of a divorce decree does not necessarily sort everything out cleanly. In some cases, a divorce decree is truly untenable for one for both parties, and requires modification to remain useful. Depending on the nature of the conflicts over the divorce decree, a divorce spouse may have grounds to petition the court to modify the decree and alter the terms of the divorce to something more bearable.

Unlike an appeal, which goes to a higher court and seeks to overturn a lower court's ruling, a modification seek to have the same court re-examine the terms of the divorce decree to find an arrangement that is more functional. Unfortunately, petitioning for a modification of a divorce decree usually requires producing some fairly compelling justification.

A modification may prove possible if the petitioning party can provide evidence that supports the petition. If, for instance, one parent maintains primary custody of a child and refuses to allow the child and its other parent to spend time together, then the other parent may petition the court to alter the custody arrangement to something fairer. In this case, the court may recognize the other parent's actions as parental time interference and adjust the decree accordingly.

If you suspect that you need to modify your divorce decree, it is absolutely vital that you understand the laws that govern this issue. In order to succeed, you must build a strong case for the modification, and make sure that you do not threaten your other rights if you must make a compromise in the modification. An attorney with years of experience in family law mattes can help you assess your needs and build a strong petition that addresses your complaints and keeps your rights secure.

Source: FindLaw, "Appeals and Motions to Modify the Divorce Judgment," accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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