Can A Divorce Decree Be Changed?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The lawyerly answer is…it depends.  Certain things in a divorce decree or divorce court order may be modified by the parties or by a judge, and certain other things, once agreed to, adjudicated, and court ordered, are set in stone.

Anything that addresses the best interests of the children of the divorce can be modified, either by agreement of the parties or by a court order.  This would require the moving parent to petition the court for a modification of, for example, child support, time sharing arrangements, shared parenting, or a relocation.  The moving party would have to prove there is a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the original court order, which is enough of a change to warrant the modification asked for.   

Other divorce issues, like the division of marital assets and/or debts, once decided or agreed to by the parties, or adjudicated by the judge, become the law of the case, never to be adjudicated again…that is, unless a spouse can prove fraud. This principle of divorce law is called equitable distribution of marital assets and debts.

Sometimes alimony obligations can be modified upward or downward, provided the agreement between the parties, does not specifically state that alimony is unmodifiable.  Again, to modify, this would require the moving party to file a petition for modification of alimony, and allege a substantial change of circumstances from the time of the original court order… said circumstances would have to warrant a modification in the court’s opinion, or by agreement of the parties.  Since the law on alimony is based upon one spouse’ need, and the other spouse’ ability to pay, alimony modifications are quite common.

For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at for more information.




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