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Can you modify a divorce agreement?

Filing for divorce is stressful. Once it is over, the last thing you want to think about is going through the process again, but extenuating circumstances may force you to pursue changes in your divorce agreement. Life circumstances may necessitate changes to child custody, child support, alimony or other agreements. Once you have settled a divorce case and received final judgment in Massachusetts courts, do you have the option to modify your divorce agreement?

Yes. The easiest way is for you to file an uncontested agreement in which both parties involved in the divorce proceedings agree unilaterally on the necessary changes. The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court provides a detailed breakdown of the necessary process to follow. Both parties must file a joint petition with the court. The petition must include a notarized outline of any terms that change, including detailed information on changes to child custody or primary residence. The court requires a number of other documents depending on the modifications made, including financial statements and forms from third parties involved in any child custody or child support assessments; the judge may also request unique documents specific to the case. A hearing may or may not be necessary.

If the modification is not part of a mutual agreement, you may need to take the other party involved in the divorce to court to obtain a judgment on the changes. Although divorce can make life difficult, if you follow proper procedures a modification does not have to be a life-changing event.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice, and should be used for reference only.

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