Can I Change the Orders in a Divorce Decree in Arizona?
Changing the Orders in an Arizona Divorce Decree
Can I change the orders in a divorce Decree in Arizona? The short answer is maybe. Some orders in a divorce decree may be changed, while other orders may only be changed if the proper procedures were used to make those other orders modifiable. All orders pertaining to child support, child custody, and parenting time may be changed if sufficient changes have occurred justifying the change.
Alimony payments may be changed if alimony was ordered in the divorce decree, the term of that award has not yet expired, a sufficient change in circumstances has occurred justifying a modification of the term or amount of the alimony, and the parties did not agree the award was non-modifiable when the divorce decree was entered and accepted as the orders of the court.
Generally, the final division of property and debts are not modifiable by the parties after a divorce decree has been entered. However, there is an exception to that rule. Specifically, if the parties settled their case and included a provision allowing the parties to change their agreements regarding the division of property and debts.
The agreement, however, must include language providing that the written settlement agreement would be “incorporated, but not merged in the divorce decree”. You should read our summary of the LaPrade v. LaPrade case to learn more about the legal principle of a merger.
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Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about changing orders in a divorce decree in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.