When a judge issues a divorce decree ending your marriage to your spouse, the intent is for that order to be permanent. Nevertheless, life circumstances can change, making it difficult, if not impossible to live up to the obligations your divorce decree imposes on you.
You can request a modification of your divorce decree from the court if you can demonstrate a legitimate reason for it. You cannot request a modification without a rationale, nor can you make your own changes or simply ignore the decree.
What terms may be subject to change?
It may be possible to modify orders for child support, spousal maintenance or child custody. However, you must request the change from the court. You should base the request on your needs rather than your mere desires.
When considering a modification to terms involving your kids, the court considers the children’s interests when deciding whether to grant the modification. In other words, the court is more likely to approve the modification if it determines that your children can benefit from it.
What circumstances may require a modification?
You may require a modification to your visitation schedule or custody arrangements if you have to move away. Relocation may be necessary if your employer transfers you to a new position or if you have to take care of an ailing relative. You may also require custody or visitation modifications if your work schedule changes and you are no longer available at the appointed times.
You may experience a significant drop in income due to a job loss, demotion or reduction of hours. You can request a modification to child support or spousal maintenance orders if you can no longer afford to pay the same amount.