When the courts finalize your divorce, you may feel relieved to think that the process is finally over. You will have instructions on how to split your assets and an order that explains how to split custody. There will also be orders related to any necessary spousal or child maintenance.
It can feel like a big relief to know that you don’t have to continue worrying about the outcome. You will now be able to establish your new normal and get adjusted to sharing custody with your ex. However, the terms that the courts set may not work for your family indefinitely.
Changes ranging from a new job or a new relationship to new needs on the part of your children because of sports or academic demands could mean that the custody order initially entered by the court doesn’t really work for your family anymore. The good news is that the Arizona family courts will allow you to request a post-divorce custody modification when your family circumstances change.
How does a modification work?
An Arizona custody order modification involves the courts reviewing and formally changing the terms of an existing court order. As with initial divorce proceedings, you can seek either a contested or non-contested modification. That means that if you and your ex agree on the changes you need to make, you can work together to convince the course of their necessity.
However, even if you don’t agree, you can ask the court to look at the situation and make a determination that reflects your family’s needs. In a contested modification request, both you and your ex will have a chance to explain your side of the situation. If the courts approve the modification request, they will alter the custody order, allowing you to then request enforcement if your ex won’t comply with the new term.
Some people feel tempted to avoid the complication of going to court again by just making an arrangement with their ex. Doing that is an option, but it does leave you vulnerable to changes in your ex’s attitude about your new parenting terms. An official modification will give you the best protection when new terms are necessary for your custody arrangement.