Is it possible to modify a divorce order?

In the months and years following a divorce, it is not uncommon for individuals to experience significant life events. These changes might be personal, professional or financial in nature, and can have a direct impact on various elements of the final divorce order. Can this order be modified to account for the changing life circumstances?

Fortunately for many, in certain circumstances, it is possible to alter numerous aspects of the divorce order including spousal support, child support and child custody.

  • Spousal support: Often also referred to as either spousal maintenance or alimony, spousal support can be modified based on changing financial circumstances.
  • Child support: Similarly, if financial changes are significant, it might be possible to alter the original child support order.
  • Child custody/visitation: Generally, these modifications are necessitated by situational changes rather than financial changes. As the child grows and matures, his or her needs might shift from one parent to the other. Additionally, one of the parents might need to relocate based on work requirements, school acceptance or simply to be closer to extended family.

Financial changes can run the gamut from job loss, promotion or medical debt.

While it might be tempting to simply discuss your necessary modifications with your ex, whatever decision you come to is not legally binding and cannot be enforced should your former spouse break your verbal agreement. It is wise to go through the legal system to arrive at a proper compromise. In this way, the modification is enforceable, and your ex-spouse faces significant penalties for breaking the new agreement.

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