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What are the steps involved in a divorce decree modification?

Divorce typically raises a lot of negative emotions, such as anger, frustration, desperation and bitterness. For many, however, it is also an opportunity to move on in life. In many cases, the situation may change significantly after the divorce order has been passed. As a result of these changes, the spouse may also get the chance to challenge court decisions. The spouses may also get the opportunity to modify the divorce order.

How can a divorce modification be made? A spouse can make an appeal regarding a trial court's decision to a higher court. Normally, a higher court does not overturn a trial court judge's decision in a divorce proceeding. The argument is written down in the form of a brief. This brief is then filed by the spouse. The brief outlines the legal argument and is supported by references and statutes. The party will then argue that the trial court lawyer had not applied the law correctly in the divorce case.

In a trial court, everything is on record. Hence, the success of a divorce modification totally depends on what happens at the trial proceedings. However, settlement agreements, such as property division agreements and child support agreements, cannot be struck down at a later stage.

While making a divorce modification appeal in a higher court, a spouse may ask the trial court to modify certain portions of the divorce agreement. This may include child custody, child support, alimony and other agreements reached at an earlier stage. Such an appeal is made by motion to modify the agreement. This motion to appeal is made in the same court of law where the divorce proceeding was originally filed.

Source: FindLaw, "Appeals and Motions to Modify the Divorce Judgment," Accessed on May 29, 2015

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