Petitions to Modify

A divorce decree becomes a final judgment if it is not timely appealed. Once a divorce decree becomes final, it can only be modified by the written agreement of the parties adopted by the trial court, or through a contested proceeding resolved by the trial court after a hearing.

A Birmingham Divorce Lawyer Helping with Petitions to Modify

Issues related to child custody, parenting rights and alimony can be presented to the trial court for review through a post-divorce civil proceeding generally known as a petition to modify. Property settlements can only be modified by the agreement of the parties. A trial court cannot modify a final property settlement in a contested petition to modify.

A party filing a petition to modify with respect to children's issues or alimony must prove that since the entry of the divorce decree, there has been a material change in circumstances. A material change in circumstances can occur as the result of a financial improvement or reversal of either or both of the former spouses.

Visitation and custody modifications may be necessary for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Changes to the parenting schedule
  • The relocation of one of the parents
  • Changes in either of the parents' ability to satisfactorily parent due to alcohol, drug or other dependency issues
  • Other post-divorce conduct such as one of the parents remarrying, as well as the conduct of the child

Getting To The Facts Of A Petition To Modify

Post-divorce changes in custody and visitation orders require that the party seeking the change prove more than the occurrence of a material change in circumstances since the entry of a divorce decree. Upon a showing that a material change in circumstances has occurred, the noncustodial parent must also prove that he or she is fit to be the custodial parent and that the positive good brought about by the change in custody will more than offset the disruptive effect of uprooting the child.

As an attorney, I have a word of caution to anyone considering filing a petition to modify for ANY reason. You must understand from the outset that, petitions to modify are fact-specific and are not capable of any generalization.

Contact The Riley Law Firm

If you believe you are entitled to a post-divorce modification of your divorce decree, I will be pleased to meet with you. I will share with you my knowledge and experience so you can make an informed and reasoned decision on how best to proceed. Contact me at the Riley Law Firm online or by calling 205-212-5577.