4 Situations in Which a Modification of a Divorce-Related Court Order May Be Necessary

When your divorce is finalized, the court issues a legally binding decree that can only be modified under certain circumstances. Obtaining an amendment is not easy, but life can and does change after a divorce, and Utah law allows you to modify portions of the decree to ensure ongoing compliance with its terms. It is important, however, to remember that the party seeking the change must prove that a  “substantial change of circumstances” has taken place since the order was originally issued.

Below are four examples of situations that may merit modification:

Moving to a Different City or State

When you are the custodial parent and your job or an important personal obligation requires you to move to a different city or even state, you must show that the move is in the child’s best interests and that their connections, such as friendships, can be established in the new location. Conversely, if you do not have custody and are concerned about your ex moving, you must show that the child has strong ties to their current city of residence and a move would threaten their sense of stability.

Medical Emergencies

If your child experiences a sudden illness or a medical emergency, the custodial parent may require more financial assistance to cover the added medical costs, which can include prescription drugs and ongoing treatments that are not completely covered by insurance. Most judges would consider a modification necessary in such a case.

Change of Employment Circumstances

If your hours are cut at work or you lose your job completely, you may be able to apply for a modification to minimize the impact of the deficit. If you are the custodial parent and receiving spousal support, an increase in both child and spousal support may be necessary. On the other hand, if you are the payor, a modification can lower the amounts you are required to pay until you are on your feet again.

Your Spouse Is Neglecting or Abusing the Children

Distressing as the thought may be, parents can and do mistreat their children. If your kids come back from a parenting time session with your ex and complain about poor treatment, you may apply to have their visits minimized or even eliminated. Non-custodial parents may also make a bid for custody if they suspect that their spouse’s parenting abilities are impaired.

Every person’s circumstances are unique, so if you want to make or enforce a modification in Utah, contact Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins. Should a modification turn out to be necessary, we will work diligently to help you obtain one that is fair while accurately reflecting the current circumstances in your life or that of your children.