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Changing the divorce decree

Joliet, IL |
Filed under: Divorce Divorce appeals

can I change decisions that were made in the divorce decree and how long do I have to wait before I change .
basically the divorce decree gave her so much control home or my financial assets and future incomes .

Attorney Answers 4


You can seek a modification of four items: custody, visitation, child support, and maintenance, and to some items that relate to the four.

Property awards are carved in stone and cannot be modified without proving fraud.

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2 lawyers agree


You can never change anything in the divorce decree, only the Court can do that. If you believe that the decree was not right because the Court didn't follow the law or facts, then you may appeal the decree. However, you have a short time to file the appeal. It appears that you do not have issues related to children in your question. Depending upon the facts, you can file a motion to reconsider before the Court to argue that the decree did not follow the law or facts. Sometimes, the Court makes honest mistakes and you just need to bring it to light. However, in most cases you can only do this within 30 days of the entry of the decree. Determining what to do next is not easy. You should search out an attorney to help, if you feel the decree was not right.

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i disagree with the previous answers. if you and your ex agree, you can change anything. put it in writing, you both sign it, put it in a court order, have the judge sign it.

if you do not agree, then the judge may change some things if there is a substantial change in circumstances dealing with support and other money matters for the children, parenting time and custody. you should see a lawyer to discuss these items if you want to change them.

if you and your ex do not agree, if more than thirty days have passed since the decree was signed by the judge, then the court may not change things relating to property division.

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I assumed several things from the question. The fact that there was a Judgment meant that they did NOT agree, and the ex-wife wanted more than what the ex-husband wanted. It is very rare when the Court would award more than a spouse agreed or prayed for. I assumed that the ex-wife got what she wanted or less. So, it did not appear that mutual agreement was plausible. Also, as you stated, "and have the judge sign it", means that the court has to approve of it. I have had several hearings concerning the parties' subsequent "agreement" in support and the Court gets to decide whether the parties subsequent "agreement" is binding upon the parties. I think we are correct, have the Judge approve of the judgment.


Only a court can change a court order (decree); however, the terms of the order may be subject to an agreement. The terms of almost any agreement, in any state, can be subsequently changed by the mutual agreement of the parties thereto if it is not otherwise prohibited by law. In most cases, the distribution of marital property may be decided by mutual agreement, and as long as the terms are fair and reasonable, the court will "order" the terms agreed to by the parties. You should speak with a local attorney to review your matter in confidential detail to see if a change by mutual agreement is available to you, and what, if any consequences may flow from your proposed changes. Good luck!

Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.

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