After the Fact: Modifying Your Divorce Decree in TennesseeOnce you’ve finalized your divorce in Tennessee, you will have the final order from the court that governs the terms of your separation from your former husband or wife. Crucial to this process is a credible and experienced Columbia divorce attorney that will advocate on your behalf to ensure your divorce decree is the most workable of situations for you. Conditions typically outlined in divorce decrees in the state of Tennessee are:

  • Functions important to any children: child support, visitation, and custody arrangements.
  • Equitable division of property, including homes, assets, and business interests.
  • Spousal support or alimony payments.

Although divorce decrees can be appealed to higher courts in some cases, it is typically advisable to seek an understanding between parties in the lower courts. If there is a change in your circumstances—such as location, income level, or ability to support or visit with your child(ren)—or if there is such a change in your former spouse’s circumstances, it might be advisable to amend your divorce decree.

What you can (and can’t) amend

The modification of a divorce decree can renegotiate and amend certain parts of the original court filed document. Typically, property divisions are not renegotiated or amended during these proceedings. Otherwise, once you or your former spouse provides proof of material or substantial changes in circumstances that have occurred since the adoption of the original divorce decree, some examples of possible amendments can include:

  • Relocation. If one parent has moved or decided to move more than 100 miles away from the other parent without notification or consent, the court has every right to consider and potentially deny the right to relocation. It is always advisable to seek counsel prior to arranging for relocation, especially in cases where children’s support, visitation, and custody will be affected.
  • Alimony. If there is an ongoing issue with spousal support (alimony) payments, there may be grounds to amend your divorce decree. For example, if the spouse paying support has a substantial change in income that will adversely affect the ability of the spouse receiving support to collect alimony, this could be grounds for amendment. Additionally, if the income of the spouse receiving support substantially changes—or is found to be residing with another party outside the original terms of the divorce decree—these, too, could be grounds for amendment.
  • Child support, custody, or visitation schedules. If the non-custodial parent’s gross income changes more than 15%, or if one parent becomes disabled, child support payments may need to be modified. Additionally, the divorce decree should be modified if a child’s expenses undergo a significant change. Willful denial of visitation can impact custody and visitation schedules, as can changes in the fitness of the custodial parent to care for children (as in cases of abuse or neglect).

The Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates is a dedicated law firm that can assist with consultations and advocacy for divorce decree modification needs. Amending your divorce decree does not have to be cumbersome, especially when you work with the experienced and compassionate Franklin divorce lawyers from our firm. Please call us at 615-412-1121 or contact us online for a complementary initial consultation to set your mind at ease and get your needs met. We see clients at our offices in Franklin, Brentwood and Columbia.