Cost to Modify Divorce Decree
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How Much Does it Cost to Modify a Divorce Decree?

Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

In modern society, divorce has become a fashionable method for spouses who no longer get along. Marital conflicts sometimes culminate in discussions about divorce, and separation, sometimes ending with separation with life continuing in the same house or in different houses… This breakup brings tense moments and is quite difficult to manage for each of the two.

The burden is even more pressing if there is also a minor child or even several minor children. The situation is even more painful if there are good years of cohabitation, years in which joint assets and debts have been accumulated.

The division of debts and assets, or the thought of dividing them, attracts anxiety and feelings of lack of control of the situation, which aggravates the situation and the divorce itself. The thought of not having a home after the divorce or the material lacks for oneself or for the child/children can be factors that effectively block communication between those involved, ultimately producing real trauma.

If the divorce decision is firm, then it remains to determine the procedure to choose. Even during divorce proceedings, spouses should cooperate to avoid the consumption of energy, money, and time.

In case one of the spouses or both of them want to modify the terms of their divorce once the divorce decree is signed by the judge, they have to show the court the appeal or modification is justified. A modification can be requested at any time after the divorce is ended, while an appeal has to be filed within thirty days of the original decision.

How Much Does It Costs to Go Back and Modify My Divorce?

The costs for changing the terms of a divorce are anywhere between $600 and $800 if both parties agree to the modification or appeal. Also, they have to pay for a paperwork filing fee. It doesn’t matter to the judge if there has been a significant change or not if both spouses agree. In this situation, it will likely be granted without too many additional discussions.

In case one spouse does not agree to the change, then the retainer fee would be a minimum of $2,500. It may be pretty hard to modify the terms of your divorce because you have to convince the court that your reasons are good enough. Reasons regarding spousal support payments and requirements to pay child support are the most common. Usually, these require some kind of life change in order to modify, such as a major medical event, substantial change in income, and others.

Divorce modification overview

In order to change the terms of divorce decrees, one party has to file a Petition to Modify the decree. This petition would be for changing specific parts of the divorce agreement if both parties agreed on the term in question during the divorce process.

In case the spouses did not agree on the term in question and it was decided by a judge, then the petition would be for changing the decision of the judge. In this situation, even if both spouses agree to the proposed change, they will still have to convince the judge to alter the order of the court. In case the spouses don’t agree on the proposed modification, then you will have to claim against your ex-wife/husband and tell the judge why your proposed modification is necessary.

You might also like our articles on the cost of divorce, legal separation, or prenups.

Requirements to Modify Divorce DecreeIn case it is a prior agreement that is to be changed without both spouses agreeing on the modification, then you will have to present a modification in circumstance justifying the proposed modification.

You will have to file a Petition to Modify without an agreement if you and your ex-wife/husband do not agree on the proposed change. This will be sent for a hearing. During the hearing, your ex-wife/husband can object to the post divorce modifications, and both of you can contest the problem to have the judge decide the contested problem for you. This may be a little expensive in attorney fees, but always either spouse can file a Petition to Modify and have a hearing even though he/she hasn’t reached an agreement with the ex-husband/wife.

If you agreed on your divorce and file a Petition to Modify your divorce decree a few months after it was entered, then there may be some difficulties because you agreed to the Settlement Agreement only a few months before and now you want to modify it. There hasn’t passed enough time to appear substantial changes in the circumstances.

The Settlement Agreement is a binding contract between you and your ex-wife/husband. Similar to any other contract, you agreed on its terms at the time, so the judge will not let you change it very easily. If more time has passed since you signed this agreement, then the chances are higher that a judge accepts to modify parts of it because during this period significant changes may have appeared.

In some cases, if former spouses still have a good relationship, they may informally decide to modify or change specific terms of their divorce. For instance, they may make informal changes to custody plans, on how much one party pays the other for child support, or how they share their property. However, it is not recommended to do it because if one of the parties changes their mind, then they can return to the original terms and possibly get the court involved.

Final words

Divorce is difficult to manage in all aspects and it is advisable to choose a lawyer to handle the procedures and documents required for such a process. To be right in court and not only in reality, you need solid and thorough evidence, legally proposed and legally administered. For those who want to change the terms of a divorce, choosing a lawyer is considered a necessity. The fee of a divorce lawyer differs according to the complexity of the case and will have to be discussed at the time of his choice, after a prior diagnosis of the situation.

Alec Pow
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