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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Can the divorce grounds be changed after everything is finalized?

By Spodek Law Group | July 27, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 08:57 am

Can Divorce Grounds Be Changed After Everything Is Finalized?

Ending a marriage is never easy. Even when both spouses agree it’s for the best, the legal process of divorce can be confusing and emotionally draining. That’s why it’s common for spouses to have regrets or second thoughts after the divorce is finalized. This leads many to wonder – can you change the grounds for divorce after the final decree?The short answer is yes, it is possible but very difficult. The grounds for divorce refer to the reason the marriage is ending – things like irreconcilable differences, adultery, or abandonment. The grounds are outlined in the original divorce petition.Once the divorce is finalized by a judge, it becomes much harder to modify the terms. However, there are certain legal scenarios where a spouse may successfully appeal or amend a finalized divorce judgment.

Reasons To Change Divorce Grounds

Most modern divorces use “no-fault” grounds like irreconcilable differences. This makes the process smoother since you don’t have to prove fault or wrongdoing.However, some states still allow “fault” divorces on grounds like adultery or cruelty. These can impact how assets are divided. The spouse found “at fault” may get less.If you originally filed a fault divorce and got a favorable settlement, changing to no-fault could hurt you financially. But if you’re the “at fault” spouse, switching to no-fault may improve your outcome.It’s important to weigh the reasons carefully before attempting to change divorce grounds post-decree. Consult a divorce lawyer for guidance.

How To Appeal Or Amend A Final Divorce

Appealing a divorce means asking a higher court to review the trial court’s decision. This is done when your lawyer believes the original trial did not correctly follow legal procedures.Amending a divorce means asking the same court to modify the original decree. This requires proving either unfair asset disclosure or a significant change in circumstances.Some examples of scenarios where amending a divorce may be possible:

  • One spouse hid assets that weren’t disclosed during division. For instance, an overseas account.
  • There was a major change impacting one spouse’s ability to comply with the decree. Such as job loss or disability.
  • One parent develops issues like drug/alcohol abuse that warrant revisiting custody.
  • A change in income impacts the ability to pay alimony or child support.

Even in these cases, it is challenging to reopen a settled divorce. You need an experienced lawyer and strong evidence to support your argument for a change.Simply being unhappy with the outcome is not enough grounds to appeal or amend a finalized divorce decree.

Alternatives To Changing Divorce Grounds

While amending the grounds for divorce is difficult, there are some other options to improve an unsatisfactory decree:

  • Modify Child Custody Or Support: If circumstances change, you may be able to alter existing arrangements for child custody, visitation, or support by filing a modification petition.
  • Post-Divorce Mediation: You and your ex can voluntarily agree to renegotiate parts of your decree through mediation without going back to court. This requires cooperation.
  • Motion To Divide Omitted Assets: If certain marital assets were left out of the original decree, you may be able to file a motion requesting the court divide them.
  • Consult An Attorney About Enforcement Issues: If your ex is violating terms of the decree regarding property division or payments, your lawyer can advise you on enforcement options.

Going through a divorce is a challenging time emotionally and financially. With the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney, you can ensure your rights are protected in the original decree. This makes the need for any post-divorce changes less likely.

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