Making Changes in Divorce Decrees
or Court Orders in Arizona
Providing representation for all of Arizona including Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, and Gilbert.
Changing an Order in Arizona
After a divorce or custody order has been finalized, there may be new developments or changes in circumstances that call for a post-decree modification. Such changes can be a simple as a parent receiving a raise, or as substantial as a parent relocating out of state. No matter how detailed your decree or order is, it is impossible to anticipate every change that may occur. When there has been a significant change that affects either parties’ income or the best interests of the children, modification to the decree should also occur. The following are examples of changes in circumstance that may require a modification:
- Change in the financial situation of one or both parties (such as a promotion or the loss of a job)
- Remarriage or retirement of one or both parties
- Safety and well-being concerns of the children (such as drug use or abuse)
- Child’s age and preference for a parenting time arrangement
- Relocation out of state or further distance in state.
If one or both parties wish to modify the decree or an order, they may do so at any time if they both agree to the change and the court sign off on it. If the parties do not agree to the change, no modification can be made without court approval and demonstrating a change in circumstances.
Child Support Modification
Arizona law requires that there be a showing of changed circumstances that are “substantial and continuing” before modification of child support can be requested. A.R.S. §25-327. This can include a change to any of the factors in the child support calculation, including income, parenting time, health insurance costs, and day care costs.
Under the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, a parent can request a child support modification by “Simplified Procedure.” The Simplified Procedure is a method where child support modification is processed through the court in a simpler and faster, many times without the need for a hearing. In order for a party to use the Simplified Procedure, there must be the finding of at least a 15% change in the child support amount.
Parenting Time and Custody Modification
A parenting time or custody (legal decision-making) order can be modified if it can be proved that changing the order is in the best interests of the children. However, you must wait at least one (1) year from the time the current order was entered to seek a modification. There are, however, exceptions to the waiting period, such as if there is reason to believe a child's physical, mental or emotional health is in danger. Also, the one (1) year waiting period can be reduced to six (6) months if there is evidence that one of the parents is failing to comply with the custody order.
Need Help Modifying Orders?
It is best to hire an experienced family law attorney familiar with the Arizona Statues and the legal process to help you with your modification case. Schedule your free consultation with Austin White today by filling out our online case evaluation form or by calling (480) 788-0633.