Massachusetts law about modifications of family law judgments and orders

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on changing divorce, child custody, child support and other family law judgments and orders.

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Table of Contents

Best bet

Family law advocacy for low and moderate income litigants, 3d ed., 2018. Mass. Legal Services. 
Chapter 16 addresses modification proceedings. Online version of great book includes checklists, sample agreements and forms and so much more. Despite the title, those in all income brackets will find it useful. Best online source.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.119A, § 13 Limits on retroactive modification

MGL c.208, § 28 Modification of Massachusetts judgments concerning care, custody and maintenance of children

MGL c. 208, § 28A Temporary orders concerning care, custody and maintenance of children when modification is pending

MGL c. 208, § 29 Modification of foreign judgments concerning care, custody and maintenance of children

MGL c. 208, § 37 Modification of Massachusetts and foreign alimony judgments

MGL c. 209D, §§ 6-601-6-612 Uniform Interstate Family Support Act - enforcement and modification of support order after registration

Court rules

Mass. R. Dom. Rel P. 60 Mistakes
Modification of orders and judgments that can be obtained by filing a motion (as opposed to filing a complaint for modification).

Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rule 412 Uncontested actions to modify a judgment or order

Selected cases


Web sources

Changing a judgment or order by agreement, MassLegalHelp, November, 2019.
Includes forms and information needed to pursue a Joint Petition for Modification.

File changes to child support if both parties agree to the change, Mass. Trial Court.
Provides instructions and links to required forms to use when both parents agree.

File to change your child support if only one person wants the change, Mass. Trial Court. 
Provides instructions and links to required forms to use when only one parent wants the change.

How to make changes to your court order, Mass. Dept. of Revenue.
Provides instructions and links to required forms to use when you are a DOR customer. "If you are a Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Division (DOR) customer and your youngest child is under the age of 17 ½ , we can assist you in going to court to ask for a modification of your child support order." Site discusses how to modify and gives instructions on how to fill out the form, offers a sample, and provides the DOR copy of the Modification form.

Print sources

Family law and practice: with forms, 4th ed. (Mass Practice vols.1-3), Thomson Reuters, 2013 with supplement. Chapters 8, 50 and 90.

LexisNexis practice guide: Massachusetts family law, LexisNexis annual, Chapter 7.36: Modifying child support orders and agreements.

Massachusetts divorce law practice manual, 4th ed., MCLE, loose-leaf, Chapter 20: Modification.

Massachusetts domestic relations, LexisNexis, 2012 with supplements. Chapter 20: Modifications.

Modification and contempt proceedings in divorce cases, MCLE, 2013.


Last updated: May 22, 2023

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