Modification in a Divorce Decree

An article posted in a website with the address, hhzfamilylaw.com, states that when going through a divorce, the two parties involved must agree upon all the issues that come along with divorce, which can include alimony, division of properties and assets, and child support and custody. These agreements are drafted into a final divorce decree to be legally approved and enforced by a judge. Often, after divorce agreements are settled, and the final divorce decree has been acknowledged in the lives of both parties, circumstances change. Sometimes, they change to the point that the original agreements are no longer applicable. When this is the case, modifications need to be made.

Factors such as change in career, location, schedules, or income can lead to a need for modifications. These changes can affect a variety of areas within a divorce agreement. The four primary areas where a divorce order can be changed are child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal maintenance.

With regard to child custody, sometimes, a court decision does not bring about the projected outcome as some parents, either the one who has custody or the one with visitation rights, fail to live up to the court’s expectations, becoming neglectful in their obligations either in the proper performance of their function or in recognizing and respecting the other parent’s rights and personhood.

These failures are legally termed as visitation or custody interferences, and they also call for a modification in the court’s original decision. The following acts are considered forms of custody interference:

  • Denying the non-custodial parent to enjoy his or her visitation rights by creating situations that will alienate the child from him or her.
  • Severing a child’s affections for the non-custodial parent through ill-talks, false accusations and/or negative comments ;
  • Consciously and systematically brainwashing the children to turn them against the non-custodial parent. This negative attitude is known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS); and,
  • Ignoring a divorce decree stipulation, which says that a custodial parent should inform the non-custodial parent about his or her plans of moving to another city or state, or any plan of a change of residence. Many custodial parents actually relocate to a distant location secretly in order to keep the children away from the non-custodial parent and so have the children fully to himself or herself.

In addition to those mentioned above, other reasons that also warrant modifications to a child custody arrangement include:

  • The custodial parent becoming unfit due to addiction or dependence to alcohol or illegal drug, or other legal problems;
  • Remarriage of the custodial parent;
  • The custodial parent passing away or developing a health problem that can restrict his or her duty in caring for the child; and,
  • The child, upon reaching the age of 12, requests for a change in living arrangements. The only reason why a court may deny this request is if it sees that a change will not be in best interest of the child.