Appealing or modifying a divorce settlement

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in divorce on Friday, November 11, 2016.

When Missouri couples go through an uncontested divorce, the divorce decree will incorporate orders that have been made by the judge on such matters as child custody and visitation, alimony, child support and property division. If one of the parties is dissatisfied with the order, an appeal can be filed to the next highest court in the state.

The appeal will have to be based upon the assertion that the judge incorrectly applied state law when making the decision, and it will have to be supported by a brief containing relevant statute and case law citations. These decisions turn on a written record of what transpired at the trial court level. Accordingly, new evidence usually cannot be introduced.

It is rare for an appellate court to overturn the decision of a divorce court. What is even more unlikely is to overturn an order that incorporates a settlement agreement that both estranged spouses have signed off on. Any change will have to be requested through the filing of a motion to modify the order. This would be filed with the same lower court that heard the divorce and that issued the judgment. These types of motions are usually based upon a change in circumstances. Typical scenarios in which someone may request a modification include a spouse who has lost his or her job and cannot afford the amount of child or spousal support that had been initially ordered. Another situation would be where a custodial parent was found to have substance abuse problems.

Most divorces are uncontested. The ideal situation would be where the parties are on amicable terms and can negotiate a fair agreement with the assistance of their respective attorneys.

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