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Changing a Settlement is Difficult But Possible

The entry of the judgment of divorce marks the end of the marriage and is a final statement of the agreement. But because life is not static, circumstances change and adjustments may be needed to the judgment.

Your attorney can help you negotiate changes to the divorce settlement, which may require the filing of a motion or a recommendation by the Friend of the Court. Generally, settlement issues don’t go away or get better as time goes on, so consult your attorney as soon as a problem or the need for a change becomes known.

Child Support and Custody

Changes in the parenting schedule, custody order or child support may be needed as children grow up and their needs change. For example:

  • Children reach age 18 or graduate from high school, and child support payments need to be adjusted for the remaining minor children
  • The amount of child support has not been reviewed in many years
  • A change in one parent’s income or health requires an adjustment in the amount of child support or spousal support
  • One parent fails to pay court-ordered college expenses
  • One parent fails to provide proof of current life insurance premiums or provide court-ordered life insurance coverage to secure child support or spousal support
  • Children report abuse at the home of a parent or a parent’s partner
  • A child is performing poorly in school or getting in trouble with the law and the custodial parent seems to need help parenting the children
  • A parent wants to move out of state with the children
  • A parent wants to move more than 100 miles from the children and retain joint custody.


The property sections of the judgment are final unless you can show fraud and mutual mistake soon after the judgment has been signed. However, sometimes one partner of the marriage does not follow the requirements of the judgment. For example, the debts assigned to one partner may not be paid or be paid late. Or the amount that one spouse was ordered to pay the other spouse has not been paid. The judge may make additional rulings so that both spouses comply with all the requirements of the judgment.

Our Family Mediation & Collaborative Practice Center is now operating in Ann Arbor. Click to learn more about the mediation and collaborative divorce services being offered.

FM&CPC Home Page


"[You reminded me] that the children are the most important thing to consider when working through the divorce and for the future. I felt you represent [...] " Anonymous

"Thanks again for all your hard work. I know I’ve said this before, but I want you to know I’m glad you are my attorney. " Husband, Ypsilanti

"Thank you for making this terrible time the best it could be. How you handle yourselves at such stressful times is remarkable. " Mother of 1, Ann Arbor

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