Which Party Should File The Divorce Judgment Modification?

When you go through a divorce in California and finalize your judgment, there may be a time when you want to make changes to the original agreement.

When this happens you need to file what’s called a “Modification” or “Stipulation”. This would be in the form of signing a stipulation (agreement) to modify (change) some of the terms of your prior judgment or Marital Settlement Agreement.

What we are specifically talking about here, however is who should be the party to file the stipulation to modify the judgment?

That really depends on what type of divorce case you had.

We utilize a process called, “default with written agreement”. This simply means that the respondent did not sign a formal response. We do this to save our clients money.

That said, and because the respondent never paid a filing fee, if you file the stipulation to modify the judgment under the respondent’s name who did not pay the filing fee, the court will want the full, what they call “First Appearance Fee”, which is currently $435.

However, if you file in the name of the petitioner who has already paid their First Appearance Fee, then the cost to file the stipulation to modify the judgment is only $20 currently.

Tim Blankenship – who has written posts on Divorce 661.


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