A divorce decree is the court’s final ruling and judgment order that makes the termination of a marriage official. It contains orders regarding property division, spousal maintenance (alimony), child custody, and child support. Despite being a final order, under certain circumstances, it can be subject to changes.
In Colorado, modifications to a divorce decree can generally be made in two areas: child support and parenting time or child custody. Adjustments to property division and spousal maintenance are rare and usually only happen under very specific conditions.
Grounds for Modifying a Divorce Decree in Colorado
1. Changes in Colorado Child Custody or Parenting Time
The court may modify child custody or parenting time order in Colorado if it is in the child’s best interests. A significant change in circumstances might include the relocation of a parent, a substantial change in the health of a parent or child, or changes in the child’s schooling or extracurricular activities.
It’s important to note that the modification must serve the child’s best interests. The court will consider factors such as the child’s adjustment to home, school, and community, the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, and the child’s wishes (if the child is mature enough to express a reasoned and independent preference).
2. Changes in Colorado Child Support
Child support modification can occur if there is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that results in at least a 10% change (increase or decrease) in the amount of child support due per month. This might be due to an increase or decrease in either parent’s income, changes in the child’s financial needs, or changes in physical custody arrangements.
The Process to Modify a Divorce Decree in Colorado
To modify a divorce decree, you will need to:
- File a Motion to Modify: This must be done in the Colorado county where the divorce was granted. The motion should detail why the change is necessary and how it aligns with legal requirements for modification.
- Serve the Other Party: The other party must be formally served with the motion, giving them an opportunity to respond.
- Attend a Hearing: Both parties will attend a court hearing. The party seeking the modification should be prepared to present evidence supporting their case for the modification.
- Obtain a Court Order: If the court agrees to the changes, it will issue a new order outlining the modifications.
It’s critical to have experienced legal guidance throughout this process to navigate the complexities involved.
Seek Legal Guidance
Secure your family’s future with Baker Law Group. Our skilled Denver Family lawyers are ready to fight for your rights and deliver the results you deserve. Don’t wait—your trusted Colorado Family Attorney is just a call away. Reach out to us today and let us make a difference for you.