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Divorce decree modification: doable, but not a casual endeavor

Divorce “is a difficult thing.”

So notes one authoritative Michigan legal source addressing family law matters.

Family law – which prominently features divorce among a host of other diverse topics – is a complex and sometimes challenging legal realm for a number of reasons. The “family” element central to every issue is of course of defining importance, making every matter to be resolved case-specific and flatly unique.

And then there is the divorce process itself, with the word “process” underscoring that much about marital dissolution reflects evolving and ongoing concerns. That is especially true where children are involved and where their determined post-divorce best interests are set forth in a splitting couple’s negotiated divorce decree.

Here’s a key point regarding that decree: Although it is often termed as “final,” it actually turns out be modifiable in certain instances at some future date.

And that is not surprising. Families are not static. Circumstances involving many factors – job security, financial stability, health issues, relocation and more – can change materially in the wake of a divorce decree, necessitating a revisiting of prior understandings.

Courts appreciate that. In fact, they readily anticipate a divorced spouse’s petitioned-for change in many cases linked with altered circumstances.

There is a caveat tied to that, though, as underscored by one    in-depth overview of divorce decree modification.

That is this: A requested change in outcome concerning an important topic like child custody/visitation or child/spousal support cannot be casually requested. Rather, it must be grounded in “a significant change in the circumstances of one of the parties subject to the decree.”

The point is that, while a reviewing court will be open-minded and objective regarding change, its modification decision will be based on close scrutiny of circumstances alleged to be truly significant.

Questions or concerns regarding a post-divorce modification can be directed to an experienced family law legal team.