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divorce modification

Do You Know if You Need a Divorce Modification?

While divorce modification is often necessary in the years following the dissolution of a marriage, there are still circumstances which do not warrant this legal change. Often when determining the need to reconsider the existing terms of the divorce, the courts will take a closer look at three things before moving forward: 

  1. Has there been a substantial change in circumstances?
  2. Was this change anticipated at the time of divorce? 
  3. Is this change permanent, material, involuntary, or sufficient? 

Depending on your answers to these questions, there may not be a need to revisit the current agreement. Here are a few instances where a divorce modification may not be necessary.

A dispute has happened, but nothing material has changed.

If material changes are not present, a modification may not be needed. Material changes may include changes to the wellbeing of any children involved, significant income differences, relocation, or any number of other situations where circumstances have shifted substantially since the divorce was finalized.

You no longer want to abide by the previously agreed-upon parenting plan.

Maybe life looks differently post-divorce than you had imagined and your parenting plan is more difficult than you’d anticipated. As long as the children are still appropriately safe and cared for, it may be in their best interest to maintain your parenting plan without making changes. It’s important to provide as much stability as possible, and retaining a solid parenting plan over time will help.

There is an income change, but it’s a difference of less than 15%.

Minor income differences do not require a divorce modification. On the other hand, if an individual loses a source of income or begins making at least 15% more money than he or she was receiving at the time of the divorce, then this would affect the existing alimony agreement and would need to be addressed with a divorce modification. 

You are seeking changes without having adhered to the previous agreement.

Choosing to forgo aspects of the original terms of the divorce will hurt your ability to request modifications whenever necessary in the future. The previously agreed-upon terms of the divorce must be respected until after a divorce modification has been secured. 

It may not always be clear to you whether or not a divorce modification is necessary. If you have questions or concerns about your existing divorce agreement and would like to have a conversation with a family law attorney about your current terms, please reach out to us. At Wagstaff Law Office, we are experienced family law attorneys and will be happy to help you sort through the details of your situation. Call us today at 727-584-8182 for a free initial consultation.