In Arizona, a divorce agreement will always be recognized by the courts as the final word on the issue. However, this does not necessarily mean that all terms of your divorce decree are forever set in stone. The law recognizes that change is a constant in most people’s lives, and when you or your ex-spouse has had a substantial change in circumstances, it may be necessary to modify certain aspects of your divorce agreement.
At Lasiter & Jackson, our lawyers have extensive experience handling divorce decree modifications in Phoenix and throughout Arizona. We understand how the law operates and are prepared to represent your rights, whether you are seeking a modification or are wishing to stop a proposed modification.
Only certain terms of a divorce agreement are subject to modification. You cannot seek a wholesale change to your divorce decree simply because you do not like the outcome. However, when you or your ex has experienced a substantial change in life’s circumstances, you may wish to modify the following terms of your agreement:
Child custody and visitation: It may be necessary to modify child custody arrangements for any number of reasons, including times when it is necessary for a parent to relocate out of state, when it is discovered that one parent has essentially handed over the child to be raised by relatives, or when there are allegations of drug abuse or neglect.
Child support: Changes to child support payments may be in order if you have lost your job or have experienced a substantial decline in your wages. Conversely, a promotion to a substantially higher paying job may call for an increase in monthly support amounts.
Spousal maintenance: Similar to child support, it may be necessary to adjust spousal maintenance payments when there has been a substantial change in financial circumstances. A remarriage by the spouse who has been receiving payments may also require an end to spousal maintenance.
It is important to note that any modifications to a divorce decree must be done through the courts. You cannot simply decide to stop making support payments if you have lost your job. A petition must be made to the court and, in some cases, multiple filings will be necessary. That is why it is important to have experienced legal counsel on your side to help guide you through this process.
Whether you are seeking a modification or are challenging your ex-spouse’s reasons for a modification, you can rely on our compassionate and understanding representation. Contact us online to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.