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Post Divorce Modification


When a couple in Colorado gets divorced, the marital settlement agreement they sign isn’t set in stone for life. A change in circumstances can justify revisiting the agreement and seeking what is called a post-divorce modification or post-decree modification. Family law courts in Colorado recognize that marital settlement agreements need to be modified, either because of changing circumstances or the discovery of information that wasn’t disclosed during divorce proceedings.

Losing a job. Being promoted. A child graduating from high school. Moving out of state for an employment opportunity. These are just some of the circumstances that can compel someone to seek a post-decree modification.

The following examples nicely illustrate how pursuing a post-decree modification might work in your particular circumstances:

Alimony Modification

Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance in Colorado, can be modified by either spouse under Colorado state law. The spouse seeking the post-decree modification must demonstrate that a change in circumstances has taken place that makes the alimony order currently in effect unfair. This legal standard generally can be met in the event of a job loss, a significant reduction in work hours, a significant increase in income, or other similar circumstances.

Child Support Modification

Seeking a post-divorce or post-decree modification for child support can be successful if you show changed circumstances that are “substantial and continuing.”  In layman’s terms, this means that the change in circumstances has to be large enough to warrant a change in child support, as well as the circumstances being permanent. Typically, family law courts will modify a child support order if the amount owed would change by at least ten percent.

It is important to note that, child support CANNOT be made unmodifiable in the divorce agreement. This means that, no matter what, child support will be able to be modified if the circumstances change.

Modification of Parenting Time, Custody & Decision-Making

Anyone seeking to modify parenting time, custody, and/or decision-making authority, as it relates to a divorce agreement, must file a motion specifying what they want to modify. This motion can be filed at any time.

Motions to modify these previously agreed-upon matters are generally harder to win than motions to modify spousal maintenance or child support. This is partly because family law courts in Colorado act on the presumption that orders that have a direct bearing on children should remain as they are, except in the case of extraordinary changes. For this reason, if you’re thinking of pursuing a post-decree modification that pertains to parenting time and custody, you are strongly encouraged to speak with an experienced Colorado divorce attorney about how to best proceed.

Re-Opening Property Division

Dividing marital property is an essential part of every divorce proceeding. However, it isn’t uncommon for a spouse in a divorce case to hide assets to shield them from division and distribution. An ex-spouse who later discovers the existence of hidden assets can file a motion to modify the property division agreement.

Colorado family law courts have jurisdiction over such matters for five years following the entry of a division of property order. To be successful, a post-decree modification relating to marital property must demonstrate that the non-disclosure of assets was “material”, meaning that this non-disclosure affected the division of property in a big way.

Contact Divorce Matters® Today

Has a change in circumstance occurred in your life, or the life of your ex-spouse, such that seeking a post-decree modification might be warranted? The highly experienced family law attorneys at Divorce Matters® will be pleased to help you explore all your legal options. Divorce Matters® is a Colorado-proud family law firm staffed by seasoned legal professionals who are well-versed in how to pursue post-decree modifications, as well as a wide range of divorce-related legal topics, from simple to complex.

Schedule a consultation using our online form or call Divorce Matters® at 720-679-7881.


Can I get more child support or maintenance if my ex got a raise?

It is possible, but not necessarily guaranteed, that you can get an increase in child support or maintenance payments if your ex gets a raise. When a divorced spouse receives a substantial raise, it can be considered a “change in circumstance” and can be grounds for modifying the original order. At least when it comes to child support, this typically requires you to show a change of at least 10% in the amount of support that would be due to be granted the modification or continuing, meaning it isn’t a one-time bonus or payment.

Does alimony end when my ex-spouse remarries?

Yes, in certain circumstances. If you are paying “periodic alimony” to your spouse, then you no longer have to do so when the supported spouse gets remarried or enters into a civil union, unless an agreement stating otherwise was signed during the divorce. It is best to have an attorney review your unique situation.

What should I do if my ex-spouse refuses to cooperate in making joint decisions?

If you and your spouse have joint decision-making for your children, but your spouse refuses to communicate with you regarding the making of these decisions, you will likely need to involve the court system. It may be possible to modify the decision-making arrangement to give you sole decision-making for the children.

When do I stop paying alimony (maintenance) to my ex?

According to Colorado Law, spousal maintenance (alimony) can only be terminated if one of the spouses dies, if the maintenance term has expired, if the supported spouse remarries, or if the court orders the termination of maintenance. You may also be able to seek modification or termination through the court system, depending on your exact circumstances.

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