The marriage is over, the papers have been signed, and the judge entered the order. Once the judgment has been finalized, the terms of the divorce are usually set. But that's not always the end of the story.
In some cases, the stress of getting divorced is too much to bear - and that causes people to agree to terms that aren't in their best interest. In other cases, something changes with one of the ex-spouses, which makes it necessary to modify the divorce judgment, particularly when child support or custody is involved.
Options in Modifying a Divorce Judgment
Try to work things out with your ex. If you are still on amicable terms with your ex-spouse, try to work together to agree on new terms for your judgment. Oftentimes, it's best to try to work things out without getting the courts involved.
File a motion with the trial court. If cannot agree with your ex about how to change the terms of your divorce settlement, you can file a motion with the trial court to change certain parts of the agreement - such as spousal support and child support payments, visitation schedules and custody. In order to do this, you must go back to the court where the divorce was originally filed and request the changes you want.
File an appeal. Sometimes one or both ex-partners will file an appeal to change the obligations set in the divorce judgment. In order to do this successfully, you must submit a brief detailing why the trial court incorrectly applied the law to your divorce case.
Get Legal Help
Although you can file forms with the court yourself, the process of modifying a divorce judgment can be complicated and time consuming. In order to get help navigating this process, it's best to consult with your divorce attorney - or find an attorney if you didn't have a lawyer during your divorce. A qualified family law attorney can advise you of your rights and help your chances of being successful with your request to modify the divorce judgment.