Frequently Asked Questions
Parenting time and custody modification
Child custody, parenting time, and decision-making for the children are all important considerations for the original divorce decree.
Again, if there are substantial and continuing changes to circumstances, these can all be modified to reflect the changes.
For instance, if you were granted joint decision-making capabilities for your children, but your ex-spouse refuses to fulfill their side of the agreement, you may seek sole decision-making responsibility from the court system.
The court’s duty to protect the best interests of the children dictates that it must consider any new factors and circumstances that would affect the wellbeing and upbringing of the children. While the court will always consider the best interests of the children, sometimes a modification requires an endangerment standard, a certain length of time to pass, or other standards. It is important to seek legal advice to know the difference between the standard you must prove.
In order to make a modification, you must file a motion that is specific to what you want to modify.
Sometimes there is a one-year time limit that applies to file subsequent motions after the first motion for modifying parenting time, custody or decision-making responsibility has been filed.
Motions to modify are therefore generally more complex than with maintenance or child support.
Speak to an experienced divorce attorney to understand what it is possible to modify, the restrictions that apply, and what the chances are of being successful.
Property division modification
The final main area where divorced spouses seek modification is property division.
The original divorce decree was made with the assumption of full possession of the facts about the married couple’s material assets and liabilities and incomes.
If one of the parties either withheld key information or provided false information that would have affected the initial ruling, a motion to reopen can be filed by either party.
Once a decision has been reached regarding a certain piece of property, the order is final and cannot be modified.
Reasons for modification
If you are considering the terms of your divorce settlement and decide that they are unfair based on new information that was withheld or not considered at the time of the original decree, you can file a motion through your divorce lawyer for the court to reassess.
In most cases, the reasons for modification are:
oA change in the income of you or your ex-spouse (e.g., a promotion, raise or redundancy)
o A change in living conditions for you or your ex-spouse
o A change in the financial needs of a child (e.g. the need for medical care)
o A deterioration in the physical or mental health of an ex-spouse
o An inability for your ex-spouse to honor the terms of the original decree
o The remarriage of your ex-spouse
o Drug or alcohol abuse or a criminal conviction of an ex-spouse
Divorce decree modification lawyers in New Mexico
As well as helping spouses with the divorce process, the divorce lawyers at New Mexico Legal Group assist with making important decree modifications that better reflect the current life situations of divorced couples and their children.
If your circumstances have changed since your divorce, we can help you successfully modify spousal support, parenting time, child support or other elements of your agreement. Need help with a divorce modification in Albuquerque or Las Cruces??
Call New Mexico Legal Group at (505) 843-7303 to reach our Albuquerque office or (575) 339-2100 to reach our Las Cruces office. Get started with a free case evaluation.