Call for a consultation 267.337.6524

Bucks County Divorce Modification Lawyers

Once a divorce is final, you may feel a sense of relief. Everything that goes into reaching that point, whether that’s dividing property, deciding custody of shared children, or agreeing on an amount of spousal support, might have been daunting, but now the process is over.

However amicable or calamitous the divorce proceedings were, there are bound to be disagreements over that final decree. And in some cases, one of the ex-partners may want to modify something decided in the proceedings. It is possible to modify some of the outcomes of a divorce in Pennsylvania, but there are exceptions and limits, depending on what you’re trying to change.

For your divorce modification needs, you should turn to Susan Gibson and Gibson Family Law, PLLC. She’s experienced with Pennsylvania family law and is ready to discuss your case.

Call 267-337-6524 or use her online contact form to schedule an appointment.

Can Divorce Decrees be Modified in Pennsylvania

Strictly speaking, divorce is final after a decree is issued. However, the orders made in a divorce case on matters of child custody, child support, and alimony can be modified under certain circumstances.

For instance, one party may receive primary parental care responsibilities for any shared children, or another will need to make monthly alimony payments.

When there have been substantial changes in personal circumstances, you may approach the court with an application to modify the orders decided in a divorce. You can file for modification of custody orders, child support orders, and alimony if the settlement agrees provides that alimony is modifiable.

Modifying Alimony

To change the amount, frequency, or interval of alimony payments from one spouse to another after a divorce, there will need to be a clause in the finalized divorce agreement to allow alimony modifications.

In the majority of cases, the amount of alimony remains modifiable based on a change in one party’s income or employment. The process to modify alimony payments can get complicated without having proper representation.

How Long Do Alimony Payments Last?

According to Pennsylvania law, alimony will terminate when the ex-partner receiving payments remarries, moves in with a romantic partner,, the alimony reaches the end of the term, or either party dies. Occasionally parties may agree that the term of alimony may not terminate earlier than the end of the full-term.

Why Would You Modify Alimony?

Life is fluid, and there can be extenuating circumstances to make the payment amount set in the finalized agreement impractical. You may have lost your job or been in an accident that diminished your earning potential. Alternatively, your ex-partner may have found a job that pays them more, so they no longer need the alimony support.

Working with an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney can help you reach an equitable outcome.

Modifying Property Division

After a court ruling on divorce, both parties’ property will be divided equitably,. According to Pennsylvania law, this division is almost always final. A court will only make an exception if you can prove the division was made fraudulent, there were mistakes made, or you were under duress.

Modifying Child Support and Custody

Like alimony, you can also pursue modifications on child support and child custody orders.

Child Support Modifications

In child support matters, one parent can allege their circumstances have changed significantly to apply to modify child support. Like alimony modification, one parent receiving a raise or one parent losing a job can be considered significant changes.

Child Custody Modifications

Pennsylvania’s laws determining custody direct parents to make decisions in the children’s best interests. In custody matters, parents can argue to be the physical and legal custodians of shared children. The state pushes for shared legal custody, which covers matters like which schools they attend, religious matters, where they obtain healthcare, where they live, and how they are brought up.

Breaking Down Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to children’s living arrangements. Pennsylvania recognizes three separate types of physical custody: shared, primary, or sole custody. With shared custody, children will split their time between two permanent homes.

In a primary custody scenario, parents will still share custody, but one parent will be the “primary” or “custodial” parent. This parent cares for the children for more than 50% of the time and could be responsible for more physical care of the child.

Finally, with sole custody, one parent provides the children’s permanent home, and the non-custodial parent has visitation rights. It’s important to note, non-custodial parents in these situations often still have shared legal custody with the sole physical custodian.

What Do You Need to Achieve Post-Decree Modifications?

Suppose you feel your circumstances have changed after a final divorce decree. In that case, you may be able to apply to modify the orders pertaining to child support or custody. If you included a clause to allow alimony modification, you’d be able to file a petition to change the order with the domestic relations court that handled your initial divorce.

Even if you make a verbal agreement to change the child support amount or parent plan, the court may still hold everyone to the orders made in the final divorce agreement.

The Process to Receive a Divorce Modification

To prove the need to modify divorce orders, you’ll need to show there was a significant change in your circumstances. To modify alimony or to file for an early termination of alimony, you may need to file to modify your alimony payments. Child support terminates when the children graduate from high school, or if the children reaches 18 years, whichever comes last, but at any time before the Order terminates, modifications may occur to address changes to income or physical custody arrangements.

The court will decide if the change should be approved or denied. Your chances of success depend on how well you can prove a change in circumstances.

Let Gibson Family Law, PLLC Help with Your Post-Decree Modifications

The last thing you may want to do after reaching the final decision in a divorce case is revisit it. It can be stressful and daunting to review your circumstances alone, but sometimes it is necessary to change the decision reached regarding your divorce.

Relying on an experienced Family Law attorney like Susan Gibson can give you a great chance to reach a new agreement with your ex-partner.

Susan can help you show how your circumstances have changed since the court ruled on your divorce, and she’ll help you build your case.

Get started on a consultation today by calling 267-337-6524 or visiting our contact page.


Divorce looks different for everyone, depending on their circumstances. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state for divorce, and the process can get complicated. However, your family law attorney informs you of Pennsylvania divorce requirements and helps you file the necessary paperwork.

Read More
Equitable Distribution

Pennsylvania law determines the division of property based on what’s equitable, not equal. The court’s goal is to put both parties in almost the same position they would be if they remained married. Your attorney will evaluate your assets, highlight any issues, and assess all available arguments in your case.

Read More
Child Custody

Many parents have varying degrees of shared physical custody of their children, and much goes into the final decision. In Bucks County's Court Conciliation and Evaluation Services program, an evaluator will talk to parents, children, and other relatives to give the court information on both parties to resolve any child custody disputes.

Read More
Child Support

With adequate information, your attorney advocates for your position so that the Court can determine the amount you can expect to pay in child support. Cooperation and transparency are key to achieving a desirable outcome. If things change in the future, your child support may be modified.

Read More
Spousal Support / APL

Like child support, spousal support is driven by income and earning capacity. For complex income situations, your family law attorney works with and collaborates with forensic accountants to determine net income available for support.

Read More
Prenuptial Agreements

Although newlyweds don’t consider the possibility of divorce, a prenuptial agreement determines what happens to your assets if one occurs. Your attorney can establish a plan if you and your spouse divorce to ensure your future is secure.

Read More
Postnuptial Agreements

Like prenuptial agreements, a postnuptial agreement sets forth what will happen to you and your spouse’s assets after a divorce. The difference is that a postnuptial agreement occurs after you’re already married.

Read More
LGBTQ Divorce

Like any divorce, same-sex couples must endure a similar process when they wish to end their marriage. However, there could be unique factors that could come up in your case. Let a family law attorney listen to your story and provide a smooth divorce process.

Read More
Cohabitation Agreements

Some couples may decide they don't want to get married but will want to find ways to protect their financial interests if they move in with their significant other. Getting help with a cohabitation agreement can save time and money before an issue arises.

Read More
Contempt & Enforcement

Court orders are binding. Modifying them is possible, but if anyone isn't following a court order, they can be held in contempt and it can be enforced. Attorney Susan Gibson can explain that process and help you.

Read More

How can we help you?

"*" indicates required fields