Can a Michigan divorce judgment be modified after it is finalized? In other words, once you are divorced can the terms of your child custody arrangement, spousal support award, etc. be changed? As is the case with most legal questions, the answer is that it depends. A divorced spouse may file a motion to modify their divorce judgment, but whether or not the court will grant the requested modification is highly case dependent. A local divorce attorney will be able to answer your case specific questions about obtaining divorce judgment modifications, however some general information about modifications is provided below.
Under section 722.27(1)(C) of Michigan’s Child Custody Act of 1970 a child custody award can be modified if, since the judgment was entered, there has been a material change of circumstances concerning the custody of the child that could have a significant effect on the child’s well-being. To qualify, the material change of circumstances must be something more than normal life changes. Additionally, there must be at least some evidence indicating that the change will almost certainly impact the child.
Here in Michigan the legal basis for modifying a spousal support award (also sometimes referred to alimony) is a “change of circumstances”. Examples of qualifying changed circumstances often include the death of a payer, remarriage, cohabitation, change in the payee’s health, change in the payor’s income, retirement, and disability. However, please note that some divorce judgments explicitly state that the spousal support award contained there within is non-modifiable and can not be changed.
Family law courts are generally very reluctant to change the property settlement terms of a divorce judgment. In fact, some states prohibit property settlement changes from being made altogether. Here in Michigan a court will rarely modify the property settlement provisions of a divorce judgment, but judges are only willing to do so under very limited circumstances. Generally this type of modification is only granted if one spouse committed a fraud such as hiding assets from the other during their divorce.
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Here at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins our firm focuses exclusively on family law matters. This is all that we do and we are good at it. In fact, Mr. Robbins is nationally recognized for his legal services and frequently receives accolades for his work. If you have questions about obtaining a divorce judgment modification in Michigan, or have questions about some other family law matter, feel free to contact our Bloomfield Hills office at your earliest convenience. We would be happy to evaluate your case and discuss your legal options during an initial consultation.