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Can a court-authored divorce decree ever be changed?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2021 | Divorce

A family law court order is a serious thing, of course. A divorce-linked decree relevant to child custody, visitation, a parenting plan, relocation, support or any other matter spells out legal rights and duties. It is not an advisory declaration that merely seeks to guide divorcing spouses; rather, it is a judicial edict that is expected to be adhered to.

Most parents do just that, for multiple and obvious reasons. For starters, it is generally close input from moms and dads in the first place that centrally dictates the rules and processes set forth in an order. Moreover, there is an inherent expectation that parental conduct that seeks in good faith to conform with a decree’s terms and condition will optimally promote the interests of affected children.

And there is this too: Flouting a judicial decree can yield heavy sanctions, including fines, loss of parental privileges and other penalties.

A question naturally arises for many Kentucky ex-spouses at some point following marital dissolution concerning a child-linked divorce decree.

That is this: Can it ever be modified?

Few family law court orders are ever cast in stone

“Circumstances change.”

That acknowledgment delivered in an in-depth legal overview of post-decree divorce modifications in Kentucky proceeds from this fundamental recognition: Families conditions are never static.

That is a key reality linked with family law, especially court orders that spell out rights and duties where a child is concerned. A snap-shot picture of a family situation at one moment will unquestionably look different at some point down the road. Immutability in family affairs is never presumed. No one – including a judge – expects that to be the case.

Indeed, courts expect many of their decrees to be revisited in the future. Petitions requesting modification can spotlight many changes in family circumstances, including these:

  • Paying parent’s job loss or demotion
  • Salary hike, job promotion or material company perk
  • Relocation
  • Special needs of a child
  • Parental fitness issues tied to family violence and/or substance abuse
  • Matters related to a child’s education, extracurricular activities, religious instruction and more
  • Parenting time

Those bulleted matters are merely a representative slice of issues that can come before a court in a petition for modification.

As noted above, courts are accustomed to considering requests for change. They hardly view modification requests casually, though, and routinely require a petitioning party to present strong arguments for adjustment.

An experienced family law legal team with a deep well of experience representing clients in post-decree modification matters can ensure that a change request is persuasively presented and supported by facts.