Legal action to modify or amend a divorce decree is initiated by filing a petition for modification of the original divorce decree with the court. Other forms that may be filed along with the modification petition include a financial or other affidavit, verification of Social Security Number, and child support guidelines worksheet.
A petition to modify a divorce decree is governed by state statutes and local court rules. Each state has its own procedures and rules for every step of the divorce process. Laws and regulations on divorce modification also vary by state.
Modification of Child Support
An order of child support can typically be modified if there is a significant and enduring change in conditions that would result in more than a ten percent rise or fall in the total child support payment ordered. Parties filing a petition for modification of child support must prove a considerable change of circumstances that would uphold such a modification. Generally, a child support order is modified when the income of the parties or expenses, such as, health insurance charges or day care charges, have changed over the years.
Modification of Spousal Support or Alimony
Spousal support is the money paid to a spouse for the support and sustenance of the spouse. Generally, spousal support also includes money payable to a former spouse or to a third party for the support and sustenance of a spouse or a former spouse. A spousal support order can be modified with regard to the duration of payments or spousal support amount. A spousal support modification petition can be filed only if there are considerable changes in circumstances.
Modification of Child Custody
Modification of custody is a petition given to amend the provisions of a child custody agreement. One or both parents can demand a custody modification. The terms of modification of child custody can be agreed upon by the parties in a written stipulation and forwarded to the court for authorization. Modifications to child custody orders must be granted by a judge to be legally valid. A custody modification agreement will be ordered only if the judge determines it to be in the best interests of the child.