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You made it through the grueling divorce process and came away with divorce terms that worked for you and your children to one degree or another. This, however, is not always the end of the story. Issues related to child custody arrangements and child support can arise as your children’s journey toward adulthood, and the court’s mechanism for addressing these issues is the post-decree modification. If you believe a post-decree modification is in order, consult with an experienced Aurora divorce attorney who regularly addresses these often-complicated matters.
If you and your ex both recognize the need for modification and agree to the terms, making the change is a simple legal process that your experienced divorce attorney can effectively execute in short order. As long as the terms you reach are reasonable and protect the best interests of your shared children, the court is very likely to sign off on your request for modification. It is more common, however, for couples to disagree on these matters, which requires more extensive negotiations or for the court to become involved.
As your children move toward becoming adults, their schedules, needs, and preferences also evolve. Child custody arrangements made when your children were very young very well may not be applicable as they age. Under Colorado law, if you can demonstrate that a substantial and ongoing change has taken place and that a modification to your child custody arrangements is in the best interest of your children, the court will carefully consider your request in determining whether or not a modification is in order. Factors that can play a pivotal role include:
Children have highly specific needs that change as they age, and it isn’t difficult to imagine a scenario in which a change in child custody arrangements would be beneficial.
Child support is another common post-decree modification. If you and/or your ex’s financial situation has changed considerably (enough to effect a 15 percent change in child support) and the change is ongoing – not temporary – you may be eligible for a modification of child support. It’s important to understand, however, that such a modification won’t go into effect until you file – it will not be applied retroactively (even if you would have qualified earlier).
Sometimes, it’s also appropriate to modify spousal maintenance. Some spousal maintenance orders, however, directly state that they are not modifiable (if both you and your then-spouse agreed to that term at the time), and such a spousal maintenance order remains non-modifiable. If either you or your ex’s finances have changed significantly and the change isn’t a temporary change, you can request a modification of spousal maintenance, but the issue is less cut-and-dry than it is in the case of child support (if the change in circumstances is significant enough to effect a 15-percent change in payments, the court is likely to implement the modification).
The court has considerable discretion when it comes to the modification of spousal maintenance – as it does in awarding spousal maintenance in the first place – and makes its decisions based on the unique circumstances presented. For example, if your ex is requesting a decrease in your spousal maintenance because he’s experienced a significant pay decrease, the court may determine that he or she can still afford to keep up with spousal maintenance as ordered in the original decree. By the same token, if your ex is making more money, the court may not find that this change entitles you to more maintenance if your reasonable needs were met by the original award, to begin with.
If you’re interested in pursuing a post-decree modification, the Aurora post-decree modification attorneys at CNL Law Firm, PLLC, have extensive experience in modifications. Your divorce-related needs are important, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at (720) 370-2171 for more information today.
CNL Law Firm, PLLC focuses on helping families regain peace of mind during legal circumstances.