Divorce Decree Modification & Enforcement
Divorce decrees may be, from time to time, violated. If a party fails to live up to the terms of the divorce decree such as:
- Failing to pay child support
- Failing to pay spousal maintenance
- Failing to pay the equalization payment
- Failing to sell the house in a timely manner and divide the proceeds
- Or fails to pay a particular bill
In Arizona, after the divorce has been granted it is possible to modify an existing divorce decree.
- Excusable neglect
- A big mistake on assets
- Fraud or failure to disclose assets or income
These are all reasons for allowing the court to come in and set aside the decree or modify the decree. Usually a petition would be filed to alter or amend the existing divorce decree and the burden is on the person asking for the modification to convince the court why it is justified.
This must be done timely, after the party is aware of the defect of the divorce decree or the change in circumstances. Also, if there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, someone becomes terminally ill or someone becomes disabled or unable to continue to earn a living and the current divorce decree allows for spousal maintenance or payment of child support, those things can be modified by filing a motion with the court. The court will make a legal determination as to the finding of substantial and continuing change in circumstances.
Any of those issues can trigger a post divorce decree motion to enforce the agreement. In other words, the parties had a contract, the court signed the divorce decree, and ordered the parties to comply with it. If either party fails to comply, then a motion can be filed with the court by your divorce attorney to modify as needed or to enforce the divorce decree.
Typically, if an offending party has willingly, and knowingly violated the terms of the agreement that resulted in the divorce decree and property settlement agreement, then the court may award attorneys’ fees based on the unreasonableness of the parties positions and also their respective earnings or earning potential.
You will need an experienced Arizona divorce lawyer to either modify or enforce any divorce decree you already have, if you feel your ex-spouse is not living up to the agreement. We can help you, call us today.