Post Divorce Modifications

Usually, when a court issues an order the order is fairly permanent.  However, family law is a somewhat unique field in that the court retains jurisdiction to modify family law orders. The most common areas that are modified are child support, custody, and alimony.

In order to modify a court order, the party wishing to modify the order must generally show that there has been a “substantial change of material circumstances.” Some courts change the wording in minor ways, but the general principle remains clear: in order to modify the court order, the individual has to give the court a good reason to modify the order.

Child Support Modification

Child support modification is usually only allowed if there has been (1) a 30% change in the income of one of the parents, or (2) it has been more than 3 years since the entry of the order and a new child support order, based on current incomes, would result in a change of 10% or more in the amount required to be paid.  More information on this topic is available on the court’s website, HERE.

Custody Modification

To change custody orders, the change usually has to occur in the custodial home of the children.  Thus, for example, if a custodial parent remarries, the fact that there is a new parent figure in the house frequently qualifies as the required change, allowing a court to consider modifying custody.  However, if the non-custodial parent remarries, the change did not take place  in the custodial home, and thus the court would be unlikely to allow a modification of custody.
Areas that are frequently considered grounds for modification  of custody are: abuse or neglect , a criminal conviction, remarriage, moving, inability of children to adapt, children getting old enough to make decisions (usually about 16), and others.  Determining whether or not an event qualifies as grounds for modification can be a difficult task, and consulting an attorney is especially advisable.

Alimony Modification

Courts use Utah laws specific to alimony (Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-5(g)) to determine if a modification of alimony is necessary.  While alimony modification is less common, alimony is usually modified because of cohabitation or remarriage, an involuntary change in jobs, a severe medical illness, or other significant financial event.

Let Me Help You

Each of these potential modifications involve areas that are tremendously important, whether the area is time with children or money.  In addition, convincing a court that (1) a change has occurred, and (2) that change warrants modification of the previous order can be difficult to achieve.  Because these areas are important, you owe it to yourself to protect your interests by hiring a competent attorney to assist you in this process.  Please feel free to take advantage of my free 30-minute initial consultation to get more information on this important topic.