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Changed circumstances: when a divorce order needs modification

The term "boilerplate" is sometimes seen regarding a legal subject, signifying that the matter at hand is commonplace and can be responded to in similar fashion over and over again. A boilerplate contractual form, for example, is essentially a fill-in-the-blanks or cut-and-paste document that arguably applies broadly across multiple cases. A simple will document comes readily to mind, for example, or a general power of attorney form.

Notably, there are also one-size-fits-all divorce kits that are touted online and that promise positive results for just a few dollars.

The words "caveat emptor" should perhaps be stamped prominently across the front of such products, given the fundamental reality that few things in family law are so generic and similar that they can be responded to in boilerplate fashion.

Nor are few things in this important areas of law immutable, that is, unassailable and ever unchanging. Without exception, every family is different, and in myriad respects. Child and spousal support, property distribution considerations, visitation/parenting plans and other key issues all centrally relate to what are the unique characteristics of every family.

That truism is amply on display every time a post-divorce understanding that is subject to a judicial order comes into question. Family circumstances flatly change over time. A child custody ruling that made sense a year ago might now require readjustment owing to a family death, relocation, a drug problem or some other factor. A court order concerning support might no longer make sense in light of a job loss. Continued spousal support might suddenly seem both illogical and inequitable, given a spouse's new employment and remarriage.

In Arkansas, such changed realities cannot be responded to unilaterally and through execution of a boilerplate form. Rather, any party seeking a divorce-related modification to subject matter already agreed upon must file a judicial motion seeking change, supported by detailed information establishing why modification is necessary.

Acting with dispatch and in strict accordance with legal requirements is critically important for any person seeking a modification of support, custody of other divorce-related agreement.

The attorneys at Robertson Law Firm, PLLC, work closely with clients to ensure that the modifications they seek are fully supported and tightly conform to all legal requirements. We invite readers' scrutiny of our work in this important area at our Little Rock Divorce Modification page.

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