One challenge of the divorce process is the difficulty of reaching a conclusive settlement agreement. When the judge issues that decree, it is legally binding; you and your spouse must adhere to its stipulations. Sometimes, you might find it necessary to modify the terms of the decree.
There are a few common reasons why your decree might need modification.
1. Income changes
One of the factors that contribute to your final divorce decree is your and your spouse’s income levels. When either of you experiences a significant change in income, you might need to modify your decree. When one spouse pays alimony or child support, a change in income can alter those calculations.
2. Custody issues
According to Forbes, 21% of children lived with just their mothers in 2020. Over time, changes in schedules, priorities and your children’s needs might lead to challenges with the custody order in your decree. If changes have made the custody schedule unsustainable and your child needs to live with their other parent, petition the court for modification to adjust it accordingly.
3. Medical concerns
If your child develops a medical condition that interferes with the visitation schedule or creates a financial burden, petition the court to modify the decree. The judge has the authority to change the arrangement if you can provide proof of the financial hardship or the required modifications.
4. Guideline changes
When the state’s child support calculation or expense allocation guidelines change, you can apply those new guidelines to your case with a modification petition. According to the Tennessee Department of Human Services, changes do not automatically apply but they become a factor upon modification.
When you understand some of the common reasons why people petition to modify divorce decrees, it is easier to determine if you need a modification. Consider your situation carefully before you file a modification petition.