Colorado Springs Modification Lawyers
Fortunately, the state of Colorado recognizes that family law court orders handed down at an earlier time may become unworkable in later years as family dynamics and circumstances change. Thus, the court may grant modifications of child custody, child support, or spousal maintenance in situations where earlier decisions no longer reflect current conditions.
If this describes your situation, you can turn to Aviso Law. Our attorneys can review your existing court order and your current circumstances to help you determine if you have a realistic basis for seeking a particular modification. If so, we can assist you with devising a legal strategy for pursuing revisions that meet your current needs.
Book a free phone consultation with our Colorado Springs modification lawyers by contacting Aviso Law online or calling (719) 356-5552.
Modifying Custody, Child Support, and Maintenance Arrangements in Colorado
Modifications to family court orders cannot be sought merely because you don’t like them or find them inconvenient. Colorado courts will only entertain the idea of making adjustments based on significant circumstantial changes. The specific criteria that courts base their decisions on vary depending on the modification being pursued.
Child Custody Modifications
Courts are reluctant to disrupt the lives of children, who typically benefit from routine and stability to develop meaningful relationships with both parents. Thus, courts will only consider modifying an existing custody arrangement based on a substantial and persistent change in the circumstances of a parent or the child.
To change a custody arrangement or parenting schedule, you must demonstrate significant and ongoing circumstantial changes, such as:
- One spouse must relocate to a distant city or state for employment reasons or due to remarriage
- Unavoidable changes in work schedules that directly affect a parent’s ability to follow a parenting schedule
- The current living situation poses a safety risk to the child, such as a parent suffering from substance abuse or mental illness, or they have developed a history of child abuse or neglect
Child Support Modifications
The criteria for securing adjustments to child support arrangements differ from custody modifications in significant ways. Although you must prove that interim developments have made the existing order unviable, as with custody modifications, you must also specifically demonstrate that a “substantial and continuing” change in your income merits an adjustment of 10% or more in the current child support amount. Changes that merit lesser adjustments will not be considered substantial. Similarly, temporary changes to income will not justify modifications.
Furthermore, you may also request a modification if the original order did not account for subsequent, costly medical expenses. The court retains discretion regarding whether the specific ongoing medical costs necessitate adjustments.
If the court agrees that your life changes are substantial and continuing then it may reopen the judgment and work with each party to recalculate the support arrangement.
Spousal Maintenance Modifications
Spousal maintenance often has an expiration date and otherwise generally ends upon the remarriage of the recipient spouse or the passing of either party. On the other hand, in cases where the maintenance arrangement is ongoing but certain circumstantial changes have occurred, you may petition the court to alter an existing order. However, you typically cannot make modification requests if both parties agreed (in writing) that the original maintenance terms cannot be modified when proposing the existing arrangement. This sort of agreement only happens when spouses decide terms on their own. If an agreement lacks this stipulation or if a judge establishes the terms of spousal maintenance based on Colorado law, then modifications can be made so long as they meet certain conditions.
Changes are usually warranted only when the paying spouse has run into financial constraints that are so significant and persistent that the terms of the original award have become unfair (i.e., reasonably unmanageable). This law uses similar language as with child support arrangements (“substantial and continuing”) but leaves out the requirement that circumstantial changes must merit adjustments valued at 10% or more. This gives the court discretion to make smaller modifications as it sees fit.
Furthermore, it’s also important to note that maintenance modifications are calculated differently depending on whether an arrangement was established before or after January 1, 2014.
Let Aviso Law Help You Modify Existing Court Orders
If you are pursuing custody, child support, or maintenance modifications, it is your responsibility to provide the court with convincing proof of the significant circumstantial changes prompting your request. Things may be simpler if you and the other party agree to modifications, but the court nevertheless retains the power to approve or deny a petition.
At Aviso Law, our Colorado Springs modification attorneys can advise you on making changes to your family court orders. Where changes are warranted, we can equip you with the legal representation you need in modification negotiations and court proceedings. Conversely, our office also represents individuals contesting modification requests.
To discuss your potential modifications, give us a call at (719) 356-5552 or send us a message using our online form.
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