The terms of your divorce order will affect multiple areas of your life, and you may not have a clear idea of the extent of these impacts until months or years later. Your circumstances may continue to change even after your divorce is final, and you may find that the terms of your order as they are now no longer make sense or function well in your daily life. If this is happening to you, a modification could be necessary.
If you can no longer afford your child support or spousal support payments, or you are no longer able to abide by the terms of your current custody and visitation order, you have options. There are times when an Arizona family court will grant a modification of an existing order. You may benefit from an understanding of what the court considers valid grounds to seek a modification.
When could you get a modification?
Simply wanting a change may not be a valid reason to seek a modification. Even if you and the other party agree to changes or temporary adjustments to your current order, you may still need to follow the appropriate steps to secure a legal change to a current order. The circumstances in which a modification may be appropriate depend on the type of order you wish to modify and other details unique to your case. However, the following are common reasons someone may seek a change:
- You are no longer earning the same as you did at the time of your divorce, or you have additional financial responsibilities.
- Your kids are older or have new needs, and they want or would benefit from a change in the current custody and visitation schedule.
- There are other reasons specific to your individual situation that leave you unable to adhere to the terms of your current custody or support order.
Modifications can be temporary or permanent. The court must approve any changes made to a current court order, even if there is an agreement between all parties. It may be beneficial for you to seek a knowledgeable opinion regarding whether you have grounds to legally change your order. It is also helpful to remember that changing a child support or custody order does not reflect on your ability to be an active and involved parent, and you will still retain your parental rights.