If you have gone through a divorce in Colorado, and your circumstances have changed, you may be able to modify aspects of your divorce decree. The courts understand that situations change over time, and they could grant a motion to modify child custody arrangements; child support payments; alimony; or even the terms of property division if you have lost your job, your ex-spouse has received a pay raise, the current arrangements are not in the best interests of your children, or your ex-spouse concealed assets during divorce negotiations.
Modifying alimony, child support or child custody
Motions to modify child support, child custody or alimony are filed in the court that handled the case originally. A modification may be granted when the petitioning spouse can demonstrate that his or her circumstances have changed significantly, and the change is likely to be permanent. Child support or alimony payments are unlikely to be reduced if the court determines that the petitioning spouse is deliberately unemployed or underemployed. Child custody orders are difficult to change as they are based on what family law judges consider to be in the children’s best interests. However, modifications could be granted if one of the parents has developed a substance abuse problem or started to behave in a way that could endanger the child.
Modifying the terms of property division
If you want to change the way your marital estate was divided, you must file a motion to reopen with the court that issued your divorce decree within five years. To be successful, you will have to convince the court that your former spouse either lied or concealed facts during your divorce that materially affected the way assets were divided. The process comes in two stages. During the first part, the court determines whether a modification is warranted. If the court determines circumstances that would justify a modification exist, a second hearing is held to determine how property should be reallocated.
Get help with your modification request
An experienced family law attorney could explain the rules dealing with post-decree modifications more fully and advocate on your behalf during modification hearings. A lawyer could also urge individuals who are going through a divorce to check the wording of settlement agreements carefully as they could include language that states spousal support cannot be modified.