Can I get the terms of my divorce settlement changed?

Your divorce settlement was recently finalized, but things are not as you’d hoped. It seems like almost all of your paycheck now goes straight to your ex-spouse, and you’re struggling to make ends meet. To add salt to the wound, you only get to see your kids every other weekend. Do you have any recourse?

You might. You could file a motion for post-divorce modification – a change in your divorce settlement that can make the terms more favorable for you. A post-divorce modification is a court order, which is legally binding and overrides the previous terms of the divorce. It can be used to receive changes in terms such as spousal support, child support and child custody.

In order to be eligible for a post-divorce modification, you must be able to demonstrate a change in circumstances (of a parent or child) that warrants an amendment to the divorce arrangement. Examples of grounds for such modification include:

A change in a parent’s:

  • Income
  • Geographic location
  • Employment
  • Marital status

A change in a child’s:

  • Health
  • Expenses

If your case meets the above conditions, the first step is to file a motion for modification with the same court that originally granted your divorce. Your spouse then has a fixed amount of time to file a response. It is your responsibility to prove to the court that a modification is justified.

Establishing a solid case in support of your claim for such an adjustment is crucial for success. A qualified family law attorney can be a huge help in presenting evidence that supports your change in circumstances and constructing a sound argument for post-divorce modification.