When a divorce settlement is reached, the agreement was based on certain conditions and circumstances that existed at the time. But we all know that life can change in a hurry. Whether the change is good, bad, or simply different, it may make the terms of a divorce settlement outdated. The state of Utah recognizes that sometimes an agreement may need to be updated and has prescribed a process for doing so. Our South Jordan modifications lawyer works with clients to help them secure the updated settlement agreement they may need.
Attorney Ryan Gregerson has been practicing family law for over 13 years, giving people the compassionate and seasoned counsel they need in difficult times. RCG Law Group also serves clients throughout West Jordan, Draper, Sandy, and surrounding areas. Call today at (801) 396-9656 or reach out here online to set up a free consultation.
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Not every life change will be seen as sufficient reason to modify a divorce settlement. After all, no one’s life stays exactly the same. But if a Utah family law judge can be shown that a particular change is substantial, then modification is a possibility. Here are some common examples of situations that would trigger a modification request:
The Loss of a Job
Spousal support payments are typically predicated on one spouse earning a substantially higher income than the other. The logic of spousal support (also known as alimony) is that both spouses should be able to enjoy the same standard of living they were accustomed to in the marriage. But when the economically advantaged spouse loses a job, the circumstances have changed. If the marriage were still intact, both spouses would presumably see their standard of living decline. Therefore, it stands to reason that the same should apply in divorce—in the form of a reduced alimony payment.
The spouse who lost the job should be aware, however, that the reasons for the job loss will be taken into consideration. If they were laid off because of a general business downturn or restructuring, the chances for modification are better than if they lost the job through their own fault.
Child support payments are based on what the needs of the children were at the time of the settlement and what they might have been reasonably projected out as the kids got older. What happens, though, if a child develops significant medical issues? This can require more doctor visits and co-pays. There may hospital stays and deductibles. All of which makes the cost of raising children considerably more significant.
Utah law holds that both parents—regardless of what the custody agreement is—share equal responsibility for the financial costs of raising children. A circumstance such as above would place a disproportionate burden on a primary custodial parent, and seeking modification would be a reasonable step to take.
Don’t Do This on Your Own
It has to be emphasized that spouses should not, under any circumstances, change the execution of their agreement without getting the agreement itself changed by a judge. We understand that there are a lot of cases where ex-spouses have been able to develop a reasonably amicable relationship and want to support each other in difficult or changing times.
That’s to the good. But if one spouse loses a job, they should not start sending less money in alimony, even if the other spouse is agreeable. The proper way to handle this is to get the agreement changed through a formal modification. The settlement was negotiated and put in writing for a reason—to avoid misunderstandings. Acting outside that agreement’s terms can create problems down the road.
Experienced, Reliable & Compassionate
Attorney Ryan Gregerson has been helping people work through difficult family law situations for over 13 years. He understands what has to be done to secure an appropriate modification and can help lead clients toward the outcome they desire.
Call our office today at (801) 396-9656 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.