Looking to Change an Existing Court Order in Phoenix, Mesa, Peoria, or the Surrounding Area?
There are good reasons you might be seeking to modify a family court order. The process for petitioning for modification, though, can be complex and is often an unfriendly procedure that puts the burden of proof on your shoulders. This is where Martinez Family Law comes in. We believe in your right as a parent and former spouse to request the changes you deserve. After all, you and your child will continue to grow through the years and your needs will change.
Attorney Elizabeth J. Martinez is an experienced and compassionate advocate who will personally sit down with you to discuss your goals and needs in modification to build your case. She handles modifications for:
- child custody orders;
- child support orders;
- spousal support orders;
- property division orders;
- debt division orders.
While a court-ordered custody arrangement holds until the child turns 18 years old, you are allowed to petition for modification of the order if you have experienced a substantial change in circumstances that affects your child’s best interest. That is, you may petition for modification if one or more of the following has occurred:
- domestic violence, spousal abuse, or child abuse since the last order was signed;
- the minor child’s present surroundings endanger their physical, mental, or emotional health;
- the custody order in question was dated at least 6 months ago and the other party has failed to comply with the provisions of the order; or
- the order was dated at least 1 year ago and it is in the minor child’s best interest to make a change to the order.
You may also petition for modification in the context of relocation, such as if you wish to move with your child or prohibit the other parent’s plan to relocate. Our firm can offer preliminary advice on how to proceed in relocation cases.
Note that it is the petitioning parent’s responsibility to show a substantial and continuing change of circumstances in order to obtain a modification. Such a change might be that either spouse has remarried, changed or lost their job, or intends to relocate. To determine the new terms of the order, the judge will examine the child’s best interests, as when determining the initial order.
Arizona family law courts seek to discourage frequent filing of petitions to modify custody by putting the burden of proof on your shoulders. Even after a year's time, it is not easy to obtain a modification of legal decision making or parenting time. A judge will grant such a petition only if there has been a substantial and continuing change of circumstances since the entry of the original order, and this is often a complex hurdle to jump. However, Attorney Elizabeth J. Martinez has the experience and professional eye for detail that you need to plan a strong case and outline the potential outcomes.
Similarly, either parent may request to modify an existing child support order when they have experienced a significant and continuing change within their household. This might be in the form of change in income, employment, disability, or health insurance, or it might be a change in the amount of time the children spend with each parent. If the paying parent has been sentenced to incarceration, you will also have a case for modification of child support.
To petition for modification, you must provide your financial information and complete the Request for Modification Review. Typically, a modification will be appropriate if the current order would increase or decrease by at least 15% or $50 a month, whichever is less. The process will generally take around 6 months, though this will depend on the court’s schedule and the accessibility of your and the other parent’s information.
Modifying Spousal Support (Alimony)
If your spousal support agreement does not have a provision for non-modification, you are able to request the court to modify or terminate periodic alimony payments due to a substantial and continuing change of circumstances. It is best to consult an experienced modification attorney to determine whether your alimony order may be adjustable and how to proceed if so.
Schedule a free initial consultation with Martinez Family Law if you seek legal advice to petition for modification today. Call (480) 571-7736 or contact us online to get started.
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