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How to modify a finalized divorce in Georgia

Usually the finalization of your divorce brings relief because it is over and you can try to move forward with your life. However, sometimes it can lead to more strife because it may result in an undesirable outcome for you, your spouse may appeal the decree or conditions may change that warrant a modification. Whatever the circumstances, you do not need to feel hopeless, because you have options. It is possible to modify certain aspects of your divorce settlement.

When can you modify?

Not everything concerning your divorce decree qualifies for a modification. It usually only applies to alimony, child support, parenting plans, child custody and visitation schedules, and excludes division of property and assets. Factors that may make a modification necessary include the following:

  • An increase or decrease in income
  • Remarriage, cohabitation or relocation
  • Criminal or abusive activity
  • A change in mental, emotional or home-life stability
  • Physical illness or injury that significantly impairs work and care abilities
  • A change in your child’s health

How these affect your decree relies on what type of change you are seeking and who the supporting spouse or the custodial parent is.

How do you modify?

Requesting a modification requires a lot of paperwork. You have to file a motion to modify and provide documentation of the changes. If children are involved, you also have to prove how the modification would be in their best interest. If your ex is not following the terms of your divorce agreement, it may take a different approach to handle the situation. If your spouse does not want to modify, then it will take longer to accomplish.

Is an appeal an option?

Depending on your situation, you may qualify for an appeal instead. An appeal differs in that its purpose is to overturn the lower court’s decree of your divorce agreement due to error, inequity, fraud or abuse of judicial discretion. This task is much harder to do and requires the use of an appellate lawyer. However, in some cases, it at least may lead to a fairer interpretation of your divorce settlement.

Why should you seek help?

Navigating all these possibilities, fulfilling the requirements and understanding all the legal jargon can be challenging to do on your own. It is best to utilize the legal services of a family law attorney with experience in divorce modifications in Georgia. A lawyer may help you save time and money and get the outcome you desire by preventing you from making consequential mistakes.