Once the final decree has been entered, most people believe their divorce is over. However, there are some situations in which a divorce settlement or judgment may need to be changed. Keep in mind only certain aspects of your divorce decree can be modified. Court orders involving asset and property distribution are typically unable to be altered. Learn more about when a modification to your divorce order may be appropriate.
Child custody and parenting time are issues that may need to be readdressed as children get older and circumstances change. Either parent may request to modify a child custody order. However, child custody and decision-making orders can only be modified every two years, unless the child’s health and/or emotional development is endangered or a custodial parent is making plans to move far away. You must be able to demonstrate that the modification is in the best interest of the child, as well as show circumstances have changed significantly since the last time the custody order was modified. Keep in mind that adjustments to parenting time may also affect your child support obligations.
Child support payments are likely to fluctuate over the course of a child’s life. A parent’s child support obligations are based on the incomes of both parents, the amount of parenting time granted to each parent, and the needs of the child. If any of these factors change, your child support order should be modified to reflect your family’s current situation. You can submit a request to modify your child support order in the following circumstances:
- your child has been emancipated;
- either parent has experienced a change in income;
- the cost of child care, health insurance, or other expenses for the child has changed; or
- the amount of time the child spends with either parent has changed.
Alimony is awarded based on the supported spouse’s needs and the supporting spouse’s ability to pay. If either of these change, a modification may be in order. An alimony agreement might need to be altered if either spouse experiences a drastic change in his or her financial situation. For example, if the supported spouse lands a big-time job with a higher salary than that of the supporting spouse, alimony payments should probably be eliminated or reduced.
Parenting plans typically include agreements regarding visitation arrangements, as well as each parent’s support obligations. Many parents also include guidelines for communication, rules for significant others, and lifestyle decisions, such as decisions about the child’s religious observance, medical care, education decisions, and after-school activities. If both parents agree to the modification, they can jointly submit an amended parenting plan to the judge for approval. However, if a dispute between the parents cannot be settled out-of-court, the judge may grant a hearing to consider the proposed modification.
Contact a Denver Divorce Modification Lawyer Today
If you need to change your child custody, child support, or alimony order, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Divorce Matters. Call us at (720) 726-1417 or fill out the online contact form to request a consultation at our Greenwood Village or Lakewood locations.