Common Reasons to Modify a Divorce Decree
After a divorce decree has been entered chances are something is going to change in your life or your ex’s that could warrant a modification of the decree. There are a few things that we see time and again that people want to change in their divorce decree.
- Changing the decree to lower or raise spousal support payments based on a substantial change in the earning capacity of one of the former spouses.
- Modifying the divorce decree to lower or raise child support based on a substantial change in the amount of income one or both of the former spouses is earning.
- Changing the divorce order to alter the custody arrangement based on a substantial change in circumstances that affects the children, such as a parent with a substance abuse problem, physical abuse, truancy, etc.
Temporary Orders In A Modification Case
Rule 106 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure governs temporary orders in modification cases. Rule 106 specifically states that “The judgment, order or decree sought to be modified remains in effect during the pendency of the petition.” That means that you can’t get the decree changed until you go to trial on your modification petition. This can cause a lot of problems for a spouse who is obligated to pay child support but who has been out of work for some time. That spouse needs a change quickly to stop the bleeding but temporary orders are not available for quick relief. Likewise, a spouse cannot get a temporary modification of child custody, with one exception described below.
There is one way that a spouse can get child support modified, but it must be coupled with a temporary modification of child custody. A temporary modification of child custody can only be effected if there has been a showing of “an immediate and irreparable harm or to ratify changes made by the parties, provided that the modification serves the best interests of the child.” Making such a showing is extremely difficult and usually requires a some kind of a showing of abuse.
If you are thinking about modifying your divorce decree call our Utah divorce attorneys for a free consultation at 801.618.1331.