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MODIFICATIONS OF A DIVORCE DECREE UNDER ARIZONA LAW

A famous philosopher once said that the only thing constant in life is change. That maximum underscores the reality that the lives of divorce spouses are invariably going to alter over time. Individuals may move their physical residences, or they may become unemployed as a result of a debilitating illness as well as a host of other calamitous life events that could not be foreseen at the time the marriage ended.

Under Arizona law, a dissolution of marriage is forever recognized by the court as it was written when finalized, unless it is modify at a later proceeding. Family courts recognize that such post-decree actions are required because you or your ex-spouse’s current living situations may not necessarily reflect the same conditions as when you first got divorced.

Typically, an attempt to modify a divorce decree will begin with a petition to the court. These requests can only be filed after the court has issued a decree of dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment or in cases where a judgment of paternity has been entered.

Generally speaking, if you or your ex-spouse have undergone any major change in your lives, then you may be entitled to a post decree modification. For example, a post-decree modification may be necessary if you were ordered to pay spousal support, yet you have recently learned that your ex-spouse has remarried. Or perhaps you were denied primary physical custody of your children and ordered to provide child support to your ex-spouse, yet you recently learned that your ex-spouse has since abandoned the children with relatives.

Arizona residents who are currently contemplating a divorce or post-divorce action should know that family law can sometimes be a difficult process. There may be multiple documents that need to be filed with the court and numerous hearings that may require your presence. Your Arizona family law attorney can assist you in presenting your side of the case to the court.

Source: The Judicial Branch of Arizona-Maricopa County, “Post Decree-Frequently Asked Questions” Dec. 04, 2014

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