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When can you seek a modification of your divorce?

When a judge finalizes your divorce decree, you may think that you are at the end of the road. If your circumstances later change, however, Kentucky law allows you to seek a modification of your divorce decree.

Getting a judge to grant a modification, however, is not an easy process. You must prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances to warrant a change in alimony, child custody, visitation or child support arrangements. The court will not take your request likely.

Common factors for a post-decree modification

There are many reasons that divorcees may want to modify the terms of their divorce, they include:

  • Change in income: This could be the loss of a job, a promotion that comes with a substantial raise, winning the lottery, receiving a large inheritance or suffering from an expensive medical emergency that keeps one out of work.
  • Change in marital status: If your ex is getting remarried, you may be able to petition the court to stop your alimony payments.
  • Parental or child relocation: When one parent wants to move for a new job or to be closer to family, it will likely be necessary to modify a custody arrangement.
  • Safety of the child: If your ex is not providing your child with a safe environment, such as living with an abusive partner, you can seek a modification.
  • An older child's wishes: Sometimes a court will allow a modification if a child old enough to make his or her own decisions about where to live requests it.

If you think you may qualify for a modification, the first thing you should do is talk to an experienced family law attorney. An attorney who understands Kentucky law and how the local judges typically rule in such cases will be able to provide valuable insight about your options and chances of receiving a modification. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a modification with your ex that keeps everyone happy.