When the Colorado courts finalize your divorce, you may assume that the final terms in the divorce decree are permanent. However, while asset division is usually final after the end of the divorce, issues related to child support, spousal support and parenting time or custody can still change as family circumstances change.
People often make major changes to their lives after a divorce. From moving to a new place to live to seeking a better job to provide more financial comfort for the family, there are many factors that can change in your family after a divorce that can also impact parenting and support obligations.
Whether you receive support, pay support or hope to see more of your children, it’s important to understand that you have the right to request a modification of the divorce decree.
What is a modification and how can it benefit you?
A modification is effectively a change to the existing parenting plan or support order. The Colorado family courts will review evidence regarding your family’s current circumstances and determine if the original order relating to custody or support requires adjusting.
Either parent or spouse has the right to request a modification for a variety of reasons. You must file a request for a modification hearing with the Colorado courts in order to obtain a review of your parenting plan or support order. While waiting for your hearing date, you should gather evidence in order to show the courts how circumstances have changed.
A modification can let you see more of your children
If the original parenting plan or custody agreement allocated much more parenting time to your ex than to you, you may be able to request more time with your kids. Usually, when the outcome of a custody case favors one parent, there is a reason.
Showing the courts that you have addressed any issues that impacted how they ruled in the initial custody case can help you obtain a modification. Anything from seeking therapy to undergoing substance abuse rehabilitation could show the courts that you are committed to self improvement and maintaining a healthy space for your children.
When your income changes, so can your support order
If you have to take a pay cut to keep your job or accept a new position with a better company that pays less, you may no longer be able to meet the original child support obligations. It is also possible that a parent who has custody of the children knows that their ex is making more money and wants the courts to review that increased income.
In some cases, the non-custodial parent becomes aware of an increase in income by the custodial parent that may reduce their support obligations. In any of these situations, either parent has the right to request a modification hearing.
The Colorado courts can then determine if the situation warrants a modification. For those who hope to change their custody terms or support obligations, discussing whether or not you will qualify for a modification with an experienced family law attorney could help.