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Can You Modify a Divorce Decree in CA?

While it might seem that a divorce decree is final or set in stone, this is not always the case. A Final Judgement of the Dissolution of Marriage can be modified under certain circumstances. This is typically done when one or both parties would like to modify some of the terms of their divorce settlement agreement. Today, we discuss the ways you can modify a divorce decree in California.

Changing a Divorce Judgment

There are two ways a divorce judgment can be changed which are by:

  • Appealing the judgment to a California District Court of Appeals
  • Filing a motion to modify the terms of the agreement with the court where the original judgment was filed

Appealing a California Divorce Judgment

To seek a change to your divorce decree, it would be beneficial to discuss this process with an experienced lawyer to ensure you understand how to file a motion to appeal the judgement. Once this has been completed, you will then present a written or oral argument in support of your modification.

As an appeal of a divorce decree is possible, but sometimes difficult to prove, the assistance of a lawyer is needed. An appeal is typically only granted if one party can prove that the trial judge misapplied the law, or the original judgment was entered into in bad faith. An example of this might be if your spouse was purposefully hiding assets you were unaware of or lying about your mental health to sway the court.

Appeals courts will make their decisions based on the judge’s examinations of the record collected by the original trial court. The judge will look to make sure that the lower court correctly applied the law that was in effect at the time the divorce decree was entered.

It is important to note that while a divorce decree may not be able to be appealed, it is still possible that a modification could be granted.

Modifying the Terms of a California Divorce Agreement

If you are seeking a divorce agreement modification, you should consult with a lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to determine which course of action is best. Modifications are typically not as an extensive process as an appeal. You can ask for a modification if new circumstances have come up that would impact child custody, child support, or spousal support. A change in circumstance might be losing a job or needing to request more child support if you find your child has a learning disability.

A modification can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances. A modification can change child custody, increase, or decrease the amount of child support, or establish spousal support payments.

If you wish to appeal or modify your divorce agreement, contact an experienced attorney from our firm. Get in touch with us online today.