Modifying Your California Divorce Settlement Agreement

Did you know the terms of your California divorce decree are not always set in stone? Once a final judgment of marriage dissolution is filed, your divorce settlement agreement may be modified in a limited number of circumstances. It is important to understand, however, the modification process is often both expensive and time-consuming.

There are generally two ways to modify your California divorce. First, one former spouse may appeal a final judgment of divorce to the District Court of Appeals. In order to successfully appeal your divorce settlement, you must show that the trial court improperly applied the applicable law or that the judgment was a result of your former spouse’s bad faith actions such as lying to the judge or hiding marital assets. Additionally, an appeal may be granted if you can prove your former spouse made false statements regarding the physical or emotional well-being of your children.

Unfortunately, when you appeal your divorce judgment, you generally may not offer new evidence to the appellate court. Instead, the judge will review the record of the trial court in order to determine the proper result. Also, an appeal will normally be refused if both parties to a divorce mutually agreed to the settlement agreement. This is generally true even where one spouse relied upon the untrue statements of his or her former spouse. Regardless, if an appellate court refuses to alter your California divorce judgment you may still be able to modify some or all of the settlement terms.

A divorce modification is generally less costly and quicker to obtain than an appeal. In order to seek a modification to your divorce settlement agreement, the former spouse who seeks the change must file a motion with the trial court. Normally, a modification is sought after circumstances change in a way that may affect child or spousal support obligations or child custody. Modifications may be either temporary or permanent, and they may alter only a specific provision, several conditions, or the entire divorce settlement agreement.

If you are unhappy with the terms of your California divorce judgment, you may have the ability to seek relief from a court. If you feel your divorce settlement was unfair, you should contact a skilled Southern California family law attorney to discuss your options.

If you have questions regarding divorce or other family law matters, please do not hesitate to contact Doppelt and Forney, APLC . Mr. Doppelt is a dedicated San Diego family law attorney who has more than 20 years of experience assisting clients who are facing divorce throughout Southern California. He helps clients through the often difficult and emotional process of legal separation and divorce. Mr. Doppelt also helps individuals with child custody and support, alimony, adoption, and other family law matters. Doppelt and Forney, APLC serves clients in Encinitas, Linda Vista, San Diego, and Scripps Ranch. To schedule a free confidential consultation with a hardworking and diligent family law attorney, call Doppelt and Forney, APLC toll-free at (800) ROY IS IT (769-4748), or contact us through our law firm’s website.

More Blogs:

Proposed California Law Would Allow a Child to Have More Than Two Parents, San Diego Divorce Lawyer Blog, August 28, 2012
How to Choose a Divorce Attorney in San Diego Divorce: 2012, San Diego Divorce Lawyer Blog, August 23, 2012
Additional Resources:

Changing the Terms of Your California Divorce Decree, by John A. Guthrie,


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