Modifiying a Divorce With Children in Arizona


As with divorce modification in non-covenant marriages, a party involved in a divorce with children may choose to have the Decree of Dissolution reexamined. Here, parties have the same two choices for modification: he or she may either file a Motion for a New Trial, or for an Appeal.

In addition to matters of Spousal Maintenance and Property Division, cases with children often seek to readdress issues of Child Custody and Legal Decision-Making in Arizona.

1) First, in order for to qualify for a review of Child Support Modification in Arizona, the following factors must be considered:

  • current income of both parents
  • existing guidelines for child support in Arizona
  • a continuing and significant situation that may alter a child support order by at least 15 percent

Here, the petitioning party must demonstrate to the Court that the modification is necessary by proving evidence such as paycheck stubs (to show a decrease in income) or medical bills (indicating serious health problems that prevent or limit employment, or substantial payments that deplete income). As with an original ruling on child support, child support modifications in Arizona are calculated using Arizona Supreme Court Guidelines, and are primarily based on numbers, not emotional factors such as one spouse believing they do more work in raising the child/ren.

2) Second, the Court may decide to reopen a case to examine Legal Decision-Making (i.e. child custody in Arizona). This request depends on significant and continuing changes including, but not limited to:

  • the petitioning party or the ex-spouse is moving a long distance
  • the ex-spouse has become gravely ill or has been diagnosed with a serious mental disorder
  • the ex-spouse has developed a substance abuse problem
  • the child(ren) are being neglected or abused

The issue of moving long distance is particularly delicate and complex, as it may require a new ruling on a sole or joint legal decision-making. As always, the best interest of the child/ren is the primary consideration when designating legal decision-making in Arizona. Furthermore, it is recommended that parties attempt the use of outside assistance, such as divorce mediation in Arizona, before filing any motions with the Court, as it is believed that only parents know what truly works best for the children.

In any divorce modification process, the benefits of a professional and knowledgeable family attorney from Phoenix cannot be understated. At Simon Law Group AZ, clients can book a free initial consultation to work through any questions they may have about making changes to a decree of dissolutions. Managing Partner, Craig Simon, personally oversees all cases, and is widely respected within his professional community. Call 480-745-2450 today to make an appointment with a skilled divorce attorney in Phoenix.