Naturally, circumstances change as time passes. You have the right to request a modification of court orders related to children, alimony, or child support if you can show that something has changed since the last order. Because orders last for so long, it is not unusual to have to go back to court to update your orders from time to time. At Spencer Family Law, we can help you build a strong case to modify your Decree or other orders, whether you want to change custody, parent time, child support or alimony. Just as each Decree is unique to your family's situation, your petition to modify needs to be as unique as your family, and the changes you are experiencing. No two cases are the same, so let our firm craft a strategy to fit your Decree to your family's needs, before life's changes pass you by.
Call (385) 999-2474 or contact Spencer Family Law online to get started.
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As a child grows up and their parents move on to new careers, relationships, and living arrangements, the court orders stay frozen in time. Every parent has the right to request a change to a Utah Custody order if they have experienced a substantial and material change of circumstances since the original order. Ideally, parents will agree on changes that need to be made, and can make those changes with the help of an attorney to make sure they avoid unintended consequences. More often, people try to do it themselves, or find that the other parent doesn't want to change anything at all. In that case, you need to petition the court to ask for changes that are in your child's best interests.
Factors that the Court considers in looking at a child's best interests include:
- the child's physical and emotional needs;
- the child's relationship with each parent;
- the distance between the parents' residences;
- each parent's willingness to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent;
- any instances of domestic violence;
- each parent's physical and mental health;
- the child's ties to the community, sibling relationships, and relationships with extended family members;
- the child's preference if of a sufficient age and maturity; and
- any other factor that the court deems important.
A judge will hold a hearing to consider the evidence in favor of modification, and the final decision will be based on whether an adjustment would be appropriate for the child.
Modifying an Alimony Award
It is also possible to modify or end alimony when either party has experienced a substantial change in circumstances since the divorce. For example, if the recipient spouse has experienced a significant increase in income and accompanying decrease in financial needs, a judge may reduce or end alimony payments. A judge may also consider the paying spouse's retirement as a reason to reduce their alimony obligation. Note that Utah courts usually won't consider remarriage of the paying spouse to be a “substantial change in circumstances" for the purposes of alimony modifications.
To modify or end alimony payments in Utah, you should file a motion to modify alimony in your local court clerk's office. The court will then schedule a hearing where both parties will have to appear. Keep in mind that the requesting party has the burden of proving a substantial change in circumstances warranting modification, and you'll also need to bring evidence supporting your request. However, if both parties mutually agree to modify alimony before the court hearing date, you can craft a settlement agreement in writing, sign it, and submit it to the court for approval.
These are only a couple of examples of modifications that you may pursue in Utah family court. Any order issued may no longer suit your needs or your child’s needs as time passes — you have the right to show such a change in circumstances to the court, which may warrant an adjustment of the provisions. You may also petition to terminate a court order if appropriate.
At Spencer Family Law, we are dedicated to protecting your and your child’s future. If a court order or divorce decree no longer suits your needs, we can help you build a strong petition to prove the need for modification. We firmly believe in protecting children’s best interests, as does the court. You can trust that we know how to build an effective petition to the court to modify your child custody order, alimony award, or other court order.
Schedule a consultation with Spencer Family Law online or at (385) 999-2474 to learn more about how we can help.
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