Like marriages, few divorces are perfect. Even if the terms set forth in your divorce decree seem fine, they may not stand up to the test of time. When you need to modify the child custody, parenting plan, or child or spousal support terms of your divorce decree, our Salt Lake City lawyers at Huntsman | Lofgran | Walton | Easter pllc make sure that all your Ts are crossed, and your Is are being dotted. Moreover, our team approach puts our lawyers’ more than 45 years of combined legal experience on your side of the table, providing a greater perspective that can lead to more creative solutions.
If you have an order of joint legal custody or joint physical custody, then it likely also provides for the type of dispute resolution you and your spouse must use before you can petition the divorce court to modify your custody order.
Of course, the two of you are not confined to the process stipulated in the order — you can resort to other Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes. Once you resolve your dispute, you can file a petition to modify and a stipulation to enter judgment.
If you and the other parent do not stipulate to the modification, the court determines if there has been a material and substantial change in your circumstances (for example, if a parent has remarried) since the prevailing order was entered and if modifying custody would be an improvement for, and in the best interests of, your child. If the case is contested, you have to present evidence supporting your positions.
A modification of custody may require modifying child support. A petition to modify child support must be filed if less than three years has passed, and there has been a “material change” in:
The material change must result in a difference of 15 percent or more between the support amount ordered by the decree and the support required by state guidelines.
Parenting plans, alimony and other divorce orders can also be modified. Parenting plans stipulate the efforts the ex-spouses must make to arrive at a new parenting agreement. If the parents file inconsistent parenting plans, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the child. The guardian ad litem also may be requested to devise a parenting plan, which the court may choose to adopt in part or in whole.
Alimony orders may be modified if there is a material change in circumstances, such as the payer’s loss of employment or filing for bankruptcy or the payee’s remarriage or cohabitation.
If your ex-spouse violates any term stipulated by your divorce decree, our legal team at Huntsman | Lofgran | Walton | Easter pllc in Salt Lake City files a contempt of court motion, complete with supporting paperwork and subpoenas of any witnesses who support your claims, and we ensure that your ex is served. Once the court makes a judgment in your favor, we hold your ex responsible for satisfying the court’s judgment within the deadline given.
Our attorneys at Huntsman | Lofgran | Walton | Easter pllc in Salt Lake City understand the complexities of divorce and know how to ensure that your divorce decree terms remain fair to both you and your child. Call us at 801-474-0031 today or contact us online. We provide compassionate and objective counsel, and take your rights and best interests to heart.