When you are in the middle of a divorce, it may feel like you are holding your breath just waiting for it to end. However, many people receive their final divorce decree and find that the terms of the divorce are grossly unfair.
Likewise, it is possible that your decree depended on factors in your daily life and ongoing income that have changed and it is no longer feasible to abide by the terms of the decree.
If you have received and unfair divorce decree or have experienced a change in circumstances such that you are not able to hold up your end of the decree, there is good news.
With proper legal guidance, you may be able to modify the decree through an appeal or motion to modify.
Appealing a judge‘s ruling
If a judge makes a decision in a divorce that one or both spouses are not pleased with, it is possible to appeal the decision to a higher court. It is important to note that it is not common for an appeals court to overturn a ruling by a lower court’s judge in a divorce case – however, it is possible, depending on the nature of your individual case. It is also somewhat more likely to succeed if both spouses object to the terms of the decree.
An experienced attorney can help you evaluate the nature of your decree and decide the best way to move forward.
If you are not pleased with a settlement offer, it is important not to agree to the terms if at all possible. Once you have officially agreed to the terms of a settlement, it is difficult to get a court to overturn the settlement.
You may still be able request a modification
Appealing an entire decree is difficult, but is possible. However, it is much more commonly successful to request a modification to some element of your divorce decree when changes in circumstances create conflicts with the original decree.
Let’s say that you are a high-earning individual who has significant alimony responsibilities. Perhaps a year or two down the road, your employer experiences hard times and offers you an option to take a buyout or continue your current position at a reduced salary. For various reasons, you choose to continue at a reduced salary.
The reduction in salary is viable grounds to have your divorce decree revisited, because your higher income at the time dictated the terms of the decree.
Similarly, you may have reached a custody agreement with your spouse at the time of the divorce. Now, after living with the terms of the settlement, you find out that your spouse is engaging in dangerous behavior, or abusive to your child. These are also viable grounds for a divorce decree modification.
Build a strong team before you make your move
Each person’s circumstances are different, and deserve individual care and attention to detail. If you are ready to pursue changing your divorce decree, it is crucial to get proper legal assistance that understands the nuances of divorce law. The guidance of a qualified attorney who has practiced divorce law for many years can help ensure that your rights remain protected while you pursue a fair resolution to your post-divorce conflict.