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How to Make Post-Divorce Modifications in Arkansas

It’s a solid option if your circumstances change

According to data provided by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, the State of Arkansas has the highest divorce rate in the nation. More than half of all marriages in the state eventually end in a separation. Although divorce is common, it is never easy to be the person going through one. There is often a great sense of relief when you are able to finalize a divorce settlement and move forward.

However, if you and your former spouse still owe ongoing obligations to each other, a divorce settlement could be subject to a modification. In Arkansas, a post-divorce modification requires a material change in circumstances. In this article, you will find a more comprehensive explanation of the most important things to know about post-divorce modifications in Arkansas. 

Ongoing Family Law Obligations May Be Modified

Also known as a post-judgment modification, a post-divorce modification is a court-approved revision to an existing court order or family law settlement. In Arkansas, an ongoing family law obligation may be modified even after a final judgment has been entered. A post-divorce modification may be approved for any of the following: 

  • Spousal support (alimony);
  • Child custody & visitation; and
  • Child support.

Arkansas Requires a Material Changes in Circumstances

It is important to clarify that a post-divorce modification or divorce decree is not a re-hearing nor is it an appeal. An Arkansas family law court will not litigate the same matter over and over again simply because one of the parties is unsatisfied with the outcome. Instead, the post-divorce/post-judgment modification process exists to allow people to get a revision if the existing order or agreement is no longer fair or applicable due to changing circumstances.

To qualify for a post-divorce modification in Arkansas, you must be able to prove a material change in circumstances. Put another way, you must prove that something has changed that was not/could not have been anticipated when the initial divorce degree was entered or agreement was signed. Without a material change in circumstances, an Arkansas family law court can simply deny a motion for a modification.

Understanding Post-Divorce Modifications through an Example

Any ongoing family law obligation may be subject to a post-divorce obligation if there has been material change in circumstances. What counts as a material change in circumstances depends on the specific facts of the case. With financial matters, there are some general guidelines in place. With non-financial matters such as child custody and child visitation, Arkansas courts will take a close at what has changed since the initial order was entered.

Take child support as an example. Under Arkansas law (AR Code § 9-14-107), a 20 percent change in the gross monthly income of the parent who pays child support (increase or decrease) can qualify as a material change in circumstances. A parent could seek a revision to the existing child support arrangement on these grounds. Post-judgment family law modifications are complicated. If you have questions about post-divorce modifications, an experienced Arkansas family law attorney or divorce lawyer can help.

To learn more about divorce, see our overviews on divorce law and family law

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