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Divorce Decree Modification Guidance

Divorce doesn’t end families. Instead, bonds are reformed in potentially stronger ways. As separating families grow into their new lives, the orders in their original divorce decree don’t necessarily fit their changing needs or circumstances. In other cases, small mistakes could lead to a verdict that doesn’t do justice to one or both of the separating parties.

As an experienced family law attorney, I have helped countless Colorado families renegotiate the terms of their divorce decrees. In turn, Lewis and Matthew’s specialized knowledge and experience qualify us to resolve a variety of issues regarding divorce decree whether they are related to a modification of child support, custody, and visitation, or modification of alimony.

What Constitutes a Divorce Decree Modification?

Life happens quickly. Changes in health, economic status, or personal preferences can turn your original divorce decree into a burden. When that happens, divorce decree modifications allow divorced partners to alter previous judgments. The modification decree isn’t a repeat of your divorce proceedings. Rather, it is an official court review of specific aspects of your original orders. Separated partners can use this legal tool to reexamine some common issues:

  • Child custody modifications – Custody issues change frequently. A parent who wants more time with their children can petition the courts to take another look at their circumstances. Petitioners can present evidence that supports their claim, including an increase or decrease in income, improved living quarters, or other proof of their parental fitness.
  • Parenting plan modifications – As children grow, your vision for their future naturally adjusts. When that vision interferes with your court-ordered parenting plan, a modification decree helps co-parenting partners work out the details on the new direction. Adjustments to parenting plans include changes of residence, renegotiation of parental authority, and academic issues.
  • Modification of child support or alimony – When financial circumstances change, divorce decrees allow divorced parents to adjust their child support agreements. If one partner remarries, gets a better job, or suffers some bad luck, they can ask the courts to alter these payments. There are also times when the original orders were issued without the proper information. A modification decree lets divorced partners present all applicable information and receive a more balanced judgment.

Even if the two parties agree on the required divorce decree modifications, it’s always a good idea to validate those decisions in court. Legally-binding documents make it less likely that either party will fail to fulfill their end of the deal.

In any court case, there's always a chance that things won't go your way. When that happens, you aren't powerless. The Colorado court system gives you two ways to respond to unfavorable rulings:

  • Ask for an appeal. These are usually only granted if you can prove the existence of an error or omission that significantly impacts the case.
  • File for reconsideration of final judgment. You won't have to present new evidence for this option. However, you will have to give a good reason to justify the second look.

Either option has a short timeframe within which to file, and it is ideal to consult with a family lawyer immediately after the court has made its final ruling. The quicker you act, the better your chances of winning your appeal.

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At Lewis and Matthews, we use our intimate knowledge of Colorado divorce law to ensure our clients always get the best possible outcome. We understand that divorce is a difficult and painful process. Our goal is to reduce your legal burden, so you have more energy to heal and rebuild.

Come to Lewis and Matthews for professional and personal legal guidance or to request more information about Divorce Decree Modification and appeals.