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Appealing or modifying a final divorce decree

For couples in California that have gone through a divorce, they will likely agree that the process was anything but easy. These individuals will also contend that they would not want to go through that process again, even if it was uncontested and quick to reach a divorce decree. Unfortunately, some divorce spouses must revisit their divorce decisions, as it might become necessary to appeal or modify the order.

The divorce process has come to a close, and a settlement agreement is reached and filed with the court. Either spouse has the opportunity to challenge certain decisions made by the court, or even seek changes to specific rights and obligations that are set out in the final divorce decree.

Although, it is unusual for an appeals court to overturn a judge's decision in a divorce case, either spouse has the opportunity to appeal the trial court judge's decision. When a spouse appeals their divorce case, he or she is saying that they were given an unfavorable ruling, arguing that the trial court judge incorrectly applied the law when making a decision. It should be noted though, that if both spouses agreed to the terms of the settlement, the settlement agreement usually could not be appealed.

In addition to having the ability to challenge the trial court's decision through an appeal, a spouse has the ability to seek changes to certain aspects of a divorce judgment. This includes child custody arrangements, visitation schedules, child support and spousal support. When a substantial change in circumstances occurs, a spouse can file a motion to modify. Whether they are seeking more time with their children, altering their visitation rights, reducing or increasing child support or requesting changes to an alimony agreement, it is possible to have these changes made.

Dealing with post-divorce issues can be just as challenging as the original divorce process if not more. Therefore, it is important for spouses to understand this process and their rights and options throughout it. Obtaining legal guidance could help ensure his or her rights are protected as well.

Source:, "Appeals and Motions to Modify the Divorce Judgment," accessed on March 25, 2018

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