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Can courts later modify divorce agreements?

One option divorcing couples here in Pennsylvania have for addressing the many important issues in their divorce is to reach agreements on such issues. What if, after a divorce, a person feels that changing circumstances have made it so an agreement that he or she made with his or her ex during the divorce is no longer fair and no longer a good fit for the situation? Can he or she seek out a court modification of the agreement?

It depends on the situation. For one, it depends on what the provisions a person wishes to have changed regard. Pennsylvania law sets rules on what kinds of divorce agreement provisions can and can’t be modified by a court.

Among the divorce agreement provisions that state law says that courts can modify in connection to changed conditions are provisions regarding:

  • Child custody
  • Child visitation
  • Child support

Meanwhile, under state law, agreement provisions regarding the following generally cannot be modified by a court:

  • Alimony (including alimony pendente lite)
  • Property division
  • Attorney’s fees

An exception to the prohibition on modifying these provisions is that courts are typically allowed to make changes to such provisions if the divorce agreement contains terms granting permission to modify.

So, there are challenges that can arise in connection to trying to get divorce agreements modified. This is among the reasons why it is critical for divorcing individuals to pay very close attention to what terms agreements they end up forming in relation to the divorce ultimately contain. It is also among the reasons why skilled legal help can be a key thing for individuals to reach out for when seeking a divorce agreement modification.

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