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What is a Divorce Modification and Are You Eligible?

Posted by Joshua Wilson | Jun 04, 2021 | 0 Comments


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If you have officially completed and gone through a divorce/dissolution proceeding there has been an official ruling by a court or judge with a decree on the terms within your divorce settlement case put into effect.

Under these specific circumstances, the official ruling over your previous marital affairs/union has already been put into place by the state of Missouri, and the case is considered, officially resolved, and for all intents and purposes "closed".

Within the official ruling or decree decided and put into effect by the court/judge there is a specific outline of the arrangements the divorce entails/entailed in the state of Missouri.

This ruling can include terms pertaining to but not limited to:

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  • Alimony (specific amounts and schedule of financial support to be paid to your ex-spouse)
  • Child support payments (specific amounts and schedule of payments to be paid to the custodial parent within the arrangement, for them to provide adequate care to your child/their child within their care)
  • The custodial order (which parent is given custodial care rights over the child/children after the dissolution of marriage)
  • The schedule and rules surrounding the visitation of the child/children of the parents within the arrangement.

 At this point, if nothing is done by either party in regards to seeking legal action (with legal standing), both ex-spouses that have been given these official provisions by the court are absolutely mandatory and conclusive in the eyes of Missouri state law.

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With that all being said; there are particular situations, or even events that can occur, where Missouri law allows for a party to pursue changes, and adjustments to the court's official ruling.

This is Done in the Form of a Legal Motion.

This motion must include the exact circumstances that cause you, or the opposing party making the motion, to believe an adjustment to the original ruling is justified, and the specificities of the adjustments to the original arrangement made by the judge, you are seeking in your pursuit.

This type of motion can only be made legally legitimate if Missouri law established conditions/incidents exist, or really have come into existence since the original decree was made.

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In the event, a party bound to the original ruling believes and is able/willing to prove there are changes within their life, their ex-spouse's life, or their child/children's life, they more than likely are able to make a motion for a "post-decree modification" in the state of Missouri.

When going through this process you must be prepared and realistic.

Understand that even though you may have the legal grounds to pursue a post-decree modification, it is not guaranteed the courts will grant you the exact changes, or even any of the adjustments you are seeking within your motion, to essentially overrule, and modify an official state court decision.

It is also a possibility, with the proper legal counsel, you would be able to succeed in your pursuit and get the exact results you are looking for regarding your desired changes to an original divorce decree.

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What Are The Requirements in Missouri For a "Post-Decree Modification", or Change to a Divorce Settlement/Ruling?

It is essential before entering this proceeding you understand the very explicit qualifiers outlined by the state of Missouri, that must be present after the official and original decree are put into place, and prior to a post-decree divorce/dissolution motion with your desired changes to be granted.

If your specific situation neglects to acknowledge and meet these prerequisites, it is incredibly unlikely to have any success with your desired changes being put into place or changed in your original dissolution ruling.

Requirements for a "Post-Decree Modification" in the State of Missouri:

(2005 Missouri Revised Statutes - § 452.410.)

(2018 Missouri Revised Statutes - § 452.335)

  • An ex-spouse/parent moving in-state, or out of state, or especially internationally.
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  • An ex-spouse/parent entering a new marriage agreement causing the payment of alimony to the ex-spouse to no longer be necessary.
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  • A child/children inevitably growing older and new financial arrangements being needed to compensate for that. Whether it be an increase or decrease of financial support.
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  • An ex-spouse/parent also inevitably growing older, and in some, (rare) cases requiring new financial arrangements to be made, or parenting plans to be adjusted.
  • An incline/decline of an ex-spouse/parent's health requiring new financial arrangements to be made, or parenting plans to be adjusted.
  • Development or worsening of a health condition of a child requiring more financial assistance from the ex-spouse/parent for medical care.
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  • An improvement of a child's health causing the child support amount to be decreased due to a decline in the need for medical care for the child.
  • An ex-spouse or parent having a significant or noteworthy increase or decrease in personal income.
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  • An allegation with significant proof of an ex-spouse/parent exhibiting behaviors towards the child/children that are abusive or neglectful in nature.
  • Incarceration of either of the ex-spouses/parents

There are other situations not listed that could qualify you to file a motion for a post-decree modification, and a qualified/state-licensed attorney would be able to listen to your specific case, and give you a conclusive answer pertaining to your unique situation.

However, with that all being said, essentially for the state of Missouri to grant a post-decree modification, they must be presented with significant and relevant evidence, unequivocally proving that one or more of the parties involved in the original divorce ruling, whether it be an adult or a child, has gone through or is currently going through a profound event that has changed their life in an impactful way. Therefore giving the court to authority to modify the original decree, based on new evidence.

It is definitely not impossible for you to have your divorce ruling modified.

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However, being granted the modifications you are pursuing are absolutely contingent upon a glaring life change, that impacts the aspects of the decree you are seeking to modify that the court and the opposing party cannot negate.

Below is one thing you can do that is not a state outlined requirement, but certainly a helpful tool for you to have on your side of this process.

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That is hiring an experienced, knowledgable, passionate attorney to have on your side throughout the duration of the proceedings. One that is very familiar with post-decree modification laws and the courts in the state of Missouri.

The Joshua Wilson Law Firm has attorneys that meet those exact descriptors and would be more than happy to work with you and work towards getting the results you are seeking in your post-decree modification motion/pursuit.

We will put the diligent effort towards your case, and listen to the specifics of your situation, and create a personalized legal strategy, within the lense of our years of experience in post-decree modifications to fight for you to get the changes/adjustments to the divorce settlement you are seeking to be granted.

About the Author

Joshua Wilson

Divorce is complex and highly emotional. Everything is going to change, including your most important personal relationships, your finances, your daily routine, and -- of course -- your home life. This can be a stressful time, and the parties involved often are not thinking clearly. You need some...


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