Can You Modify a Divorce Decree in California?

Modifying a divorce decree

If you recently solidified your divorce decree, you might be wondering if you can make any changes to it. Fortunately, you can make modifications to a Final Judgement of the Dissolution of Marriage under certain circumstances. Today, we review when it is appropriate to do so. 

How to Change a Divorce Judgment

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

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

Modifying a California Divorce Agreement

If you are seeking a divorce agreement modification, your first step should be to consult with an experienced lawyer. You will need to show that a change in circumstance has happened that could impact a part of you agreement. A change in circumstance could be anything from losing a job to relocating to figuring out your child needs more schooling due to a learning disability. A modification can be temporary or permanent and can warrant a change in custody, increase or decrease in support payments, or establish support payments. 

Appealing a California Divorce Agreement

You also have the option of appealing a divorce agreement. To seek such an option requires the help of an experienced lawyer to ensure you file the motion appropriately. Once the motion to appeal a divorce judgment has been done, you will then present an argument in support of your decision. 

As an appeal of a divorce decree is possible, but can be difficult to prove, especially without the assistance of a lawyer. 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 at the time your divorce decree was finalized. 

Appeals courts will make their decisions based on the judge’s examinations of the records collected by the original trial court. The judge will determine if 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 to pursue a modification. 

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