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Modifying your divorce decree

Your life has probably changed completely since your divorce. You may have a new home, a new schedule, and maybe a new focus on your career. There may even be a new partner in your life. There are many reasons why the divorce decree that was finalized years ago simply doesn't reflect your current situation.

It may be tempting to ask for a modification to the decree or the parenting plan to reflect your new life. If there has been or will be a significant change, it is certainly a good idea. The process for doing so is difficult, however, and in many ways the same as when the decree was first issued. It is not something which you should try to do on your own.

What is a major change?

The most common significant change is relocation. If you are planning to move some distance away, the visitation schedule with the children is going to change and probably become more difficult. It doesn't have to be to another state to have an impact, either. Even moving from Denver to Colorado Springs can be significant.

For parents who value equal parenting time, nearly any change can impact the lives of the children. Such modifications are to the parenting plan, not the full decree, and will be easier to obtain. Whenever possible it is best to work this out in advance between both parents and present the court with a fully agreed plan.

The same standard applies

As different as your life may be, courts in Colorado will have one main consideration for any modification - the best interests of the children. You may be focusing on your own plans and needs, but you have to consider how this affects the children before you present a proposed modification.

The courts may appoint a Child and Family Investigator (CFI) in order to determine just what is in the children's best interests. You need to be aware of your rights through this process and how to guide it along to a satisfactory conclusion.

More significant modifications

If you have lost your high-paying job and need to have your alimony or child support modified to stay within budget, this can also be considered by the courts. This involves a change in the underlying divorce decree and requires more documentation.

The courts will be looking for very specific statements on your finances and income in order to consider this. In situations like this, an attorney with experience in family law is absolutely essential to a satisfactory conclusion.

Stay focused

Whether the issue is your parental rights or financial interest, a modification to reflect your new circumstances is always an option. By focusing on what you need very specifically and working with someone you trust you can get it done.

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