The divorce process alone is painful for anyone, but it’s especially excruciating when your divorce terms no longer work for your situation. What happens if your ex is living with someone new, but you’re still paying alimony? What if your company shuts down or you lose your job, and you can no longer afford child support?
No matter your circumstances, if you are considering asking for a divorce modification, the experienced family law team at Christensen Law is here to help. For over 35 years, we have been helping people across Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas handle the painful process of divorce. We care deeply about helping Utah families find the best possible outcome for their situation, and we want to do the same for you.
If you are thinking about filing for a divorce modification, contact Christensen Law today for your free consultation. Our knowledgeable and compassionate legal team will review your case for free, help you understand your legal options, and fight alongside you for a successful outcome. Call us today at (801) 303-5800 or reach us online to schedule your consultation.
Can I Get a Modification in Utah of My Divorce Decree?
Utah courts allow the modification of divorce decrees under certain circumstances. However, you must typically meet specific conditions before the court will consider hearing your case.
Overall, you usually need to have a “material or substantial change in circumstances” in order to be eligible for a divorce modification. Additionally, the court must issue an official modification to your divorce decree before you can legally make changes to payments or visitation. For example, if you stop making child support payments before the court modifies your divorce decree, then you could be prosecuted for violating a court order.
Some of the most common reasons that people request this type of change include:
Change in Financial Status
This typically includes a significant change in someone’s income that impacts their ability to pay child support or alimony. For example, your former spouse might have lost their job, or they might have accepted a job with a significantly higher salary. In other circumstances, you might be experiencing a serious medical condition that impacts your ability to work and makes it difficult for you to pay child support.
To prove a need for modification due to financial circumstances, you’ll need to provide solid proof of a change in your financial situation or that of your former spouse. This might include evidence like pay stubs, financial statements, or medical records to demonstrate your ex’s increase in income or your modified ability to meet financial obligations.
Change in Life or Relationship Status
If your former spouse dies, gets remarried, or cohabitates with someone, then the court will typically allow you to terminate alimony payments. If it is a remarriage or death, alimony automatically terminates. For cohabitation, it is likely necessary to go through the court as soon as possible to resolve whether alimony should continue.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a modification if your ex is living with someone that is just a roommate. In the case of cohabitation, you must show that your ex is openly and continuously living in a “marriage-like” relationship with someone new, where they share a living space, in addition to an intimate relationship, expenses, decision-making, etc.
Some of the ways to prove that your ex is cohabiting include hiring an attorney to obtain financial evidence of cohabitation or hiring a private investigator to gather photographic and video evidence of your former spouse’s new relationship.
Changes That Disrupt the Parental Plan
These changes might involve a situation where one parent has moved across the country, making it difficult for them to visit the children every week. Another example is if the primary custodial parent has been diagnosed with a chronic illness that will make it difficult for them to properly care for the children.
For any divorce matter involving kids, the courts might consider a modification if adjusting the divorce decree would be in the best interest of the children.
Additionally, if your original divorce decree included a clause allowing for payment alterations, then you might be able to change payments without filing for a divorce modification. For example, if the decree included a cost of living adjustment (COLA) clause, then your alimony payments are supposed to increase each year in line with that year’s COLA rate.
What Kinds of Modifications Can I Ask for on a Utah Divorce Decree?
The primary parts of a divorce decree that are typically eligible for modification include:
- Child custody
- Visitation schedules
- Child support
Typically, courts will not consider a request to modify the division of marital property, unless both former spouses agree to a modification or your original divorce decree included a clause that allows for modifications.
How Do I Modify a Divorce Decree in Utah?
To modify a divorce decree in Utah, you usually need to file a petition for modification with the court that issued your divorce decree, plus you must notify your ex that you are requesting a modification.
If your former spouse agrees to the modification or the evidence supporting this change is overwhelming, then the court might grant the modification through a simple process. However, if there is even the slightest question over whether the divorce modification is necessary, then it will prolong the process and the court might require a hearing.
Utah’s rules surrounding divorce law are often confusing, and divorce modification might seem impossible if you try to go it alone. However, a knowledgeable family law attorney can help explain how Utah’s laws apply to your case and help you decide which path makes the most sense for your situation.
Get Help With Your Utah Divorce Modification Today
Don’t wait to get the best possible outcome for you and your family. If you have any questions about your divorce decree, the experienced divorce attorneys at Christensen Law are here for you. Contact us online or call (801) 303-5800 to schedule your free consultation.