2024 Legal Process Page

DIVORCE FACT  Approximately 5% of divorce cases go to trial.  This means that 95% of cases are settled with both spouses cooperating with each other, individual or mutual attorneys, mediators or other methods.

DMK Knowledge

Is there a way to change my Divorce Decree?


In some cases, a modification can be requested based on one or more consistent, material changes in circumstances and/or the best interest of the child(ren) (e.g., job loss or transfer, chronic illness, changes in financial situation, etc.)

In most states, to initiate the process, a motion to modify would be filed in the same court that issued the Final Judgement of Divorce (Divorce Decree). 

There are state specific guidelines as to what qualifies for a possible modification and what terms of the judgement may be modified.  If both parties are in agreement and the court feels sufficient time has passed since the original order was established, the modification is relatively straight-forward.  A judge must still approve the request for modification.  If both parties are not in agreement, the case is more complicated costly and time consuming.

Modifications are usually for spousal or child support, custody/visitation.   Most often, the courts will not modify the terms of the decree regarding marital property division.  In some states, exceptions may be possible (e.g., both parties are in agreement to modify those terms, the decree includes the possibility of modification of those terms) but a judge must still approve the request.

A request may not be approved if it has been filed too soon after the date of the original order and/or the terms were established in a settlement agreement rather than by a judge.

The law is complicated

As always, state laws vary as do individual cases; consult a local attorney for details and/or the local courts for filing instructions.


An appeal is specific to wrongdoing rather than changes in current circumstances.

One should consult with a local attorney for clarification of permissible grounds in his/her state and further understanding of the laws as they pertain to his/her reason(s) to overturn the court order (e.g., the court made an error when applying the law to the case or there's new evidence).

In most states there is a limited time period (anywhere between 30-90 days - state specific) to appeal.   It’s uncommon to win an appeal of a divorce judgement that’s been fully executed by both spouses and approved by the court. This is especially true if the terms were established in a settlement agreement between both spouses.

Get 12 tips to help you navigate the legal process of divorce. As always, seek the advice of a professional for details regarding state laws that may affect your own personal circumstances.

There are numerous ways to divorce. It will be important to know each option available in your state in order to choose the right divorce plan for you and your spouse. We have listed several methods below. This list may have options not offered in your state.  It may also not include options available in your state.  It's important to discuss state laws with a local attorney as they pertain to your specific circumstances.