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Can I Modify My Divorce Agreement?

Can I Modify My Divorce Agreement?

As the old saying goes, “the only certainty in life is change.” If you’ve been through a divorce, you know how true this is. Change is consistent, no matter what life stage you’re in. What your life looks like now, after your divorce, is likely very different than it did during your divorce.

The Rhode Island family court understands that change is inevitable. Incomes fluctuate, health issues arise and divorced parents may want or need to move out of the state causing visitation to change. When significant, these changes may require a change in your divorce agreement, a term the court refers to as a “modification.”

In this article, we’ll examine what life events could warrant a modification, as well as how to go about getting one. If you’re thinking about modifying your divorce agreement, it’s important to find an experienced Rhode Island divorce modification attorney to alter the terms of your final order, so it better reflects your current situation.

Modifications 101

There are a few basic rules set forth by the Rhode Island family court in regards to modifying a divorce agreement.

  1. Divorce agreements are typically only modified in regards to children, child custody and child support. Modifications to divorce agreements where no children are involved are very rare.
  2. In order to modify your divorce agreement, there must be a substantial change in circumstances that render you or your spouse unable to meet your agreed-upon obligation. Examples of life changes that warrant a modification include:
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Substance abuse by you or your ex-partner
  • Both you and your ex agree to the modification in writing
  • The loss of employment/income by you or your ex, only as it pertains to your minor children
  • Your child is diagnosed with special needs
  • Increase in medical expenses
  • Parental relocation
  1. A modification does not require the entire divorce order to be changed. Instead, portions of the final agreement are altered, for example, child custody, child support or visitation schedules.
  2. Modifications to spousal support are also permitted. This happens when the needs of either spouse change, including:
  • Remarriage
  • Change in job status, whether a job loss, gain or promotion
  • Illness/disability
  • Inheritance of assets and/or property

How to Modify a Divorce Agreement

The best way to modify your agreement is to seek a Rhode Island divorce lawyer with expertise in assisting clients with divorce modifications. Ask your potential attorney about their experience and success with modifying divorce agreements prior to choosing an attorney.

Understand that seeking a modification to your divorce agreement means that your case will be reopened and you’ll need to disclose all relevant facts related to your request. These facts could include the financial resources of you, your ex-spouse, and your children, the amount of time your children spend with you and your ex, the standard of living your children would have enjoyed if you and your spouse didn’t divorce, the educational needs of your children and their emotional and physical well-being.

Ready to modify your Rhode Island Divorce Agreement? 

You don’t have to live with an outdated divorce agreement. Whether you’re ready to modify your divorce agreement or if you have questions about your specific case, our Rhode Island divorce modification attorneys can help you. We’ll review your case to determine whether a modification of child support, child custody, alimony—even your property settlement agreement—is warranted.

Contact Kirshenbaum Law Associates online or call 401-467-5300 today to learn more about how we can help you obtain the modification you need.