In Arizona, it is possible to get a divorce modification and obtain a change in the “Final Judgment” or “Decree of Dissolution” after it has been finalized by a Judge. Many times this can be accomplished by directly attacking the Judge’s ruling or by seeking to work with the Judge in order to achieve a Modification of the “Decree” which has been in effect for quite some time. Although this website will provide some general information as how to obtain Relief or Modification within the State of Arizona, it is always recommended that you contact The Cantor Law Group immediately to set an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss your specific case.
Motion for New Trial:
Once the Judge’s “Decree of Dissolution” is filed, then certain time limits begin to run with respect to a “Motions for New Trial”. A Motion for New Trial must be filed within 15 days after the Decree of Dissolution is filed by the Judge; otherwise, this remedy will no longer be available. Motions for New Trial are very rarely granted due to the fact that they can only be supported by very specific grounds. If the specific grounds do not exist under the rules regarding a Motion for New Trial, then it is wiser to file an Appeal.
Once the Judge’s “Decree of Dissolution” is filed, then certain time limits begin to run with respect to an Appeal. The Appellate process starts with a “Notice of Appeal” that must be filed within 30 days after the Decree of Dissolution is filed. The grounds for Appeal can be based on many more factors than allowed for by the Motion for New Trial. The most common Appeal is based on the admission or exclusion of evidence over a Trial Attorney’s objection. These Appeals must be filed with the Arizona Court of Appeals. Many times the Court of Appeals will find that the Trial Judge committed an error, yet it did not rise to a sufficient level allowing them to overturn the “Final Judgment”. If the Court of Appeals does determine there was “harmful error”, then the case will be remanded back to the Superior Court for a New Trial. At The Cantor Law Group, we have extensive Appellate Court knowledge. Not only have some of our attorneys’ more significant cases been published in the Arizona case law reporters, but members of the firm have also argued various issues in front of the Arizona Supreme Court on numerous occasions.
Modification and Enforcement
Once a “Final Judgment” has been issued by way of a “Marital Settlement Agreement”, “Trial Judgment” or “Appeal”, then the parties are obligated under the terms of the “Decree of Dissolution”. In regards to “Enforcement,” if either of the spouses fail to abide by their terms, then the Judge can issue an “Order to Show Cause” as to why the Court should not hold that party in “Contempt”. It is at this point that the Judge can issue sanctions ranging from simple monitary amounts, all the way to imprisonment. The Judge also has the power, in some cases, to revoke a party’s driver’s license or begin proceedings that would result in the loss of a professional license or certification. If you have retained us in order to seek Enforcement of a previously existing Decree, please provide our paralegals with a copy of the most recent Decree of Dissolution and copies of all canceled checks of payments made to date.
In regards to “Modification”, on many occasions one spouse’s circumstance will change over time and it is necessary to ask for a divorce modification of the prior “Decree of Dissolution”. This could be due to the loss of a job or reduction in income of one spouse, or health issues and medical bills which may arise due to illness. It is important to put together all documentation and witnesses who could support your claim that a modification is immediately necessary. At The Cantor Law Group, we have top-notch paralegals who can assist you in the gathering of all information. Contact us immediately to set an appointment for a free initial consultation should you need to file for a Modification.
In the State of Arizona, “Spousal Maintenance” is not designed to be punitive in nature. It’s overall purpose is to assist a spouse in maintaining the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, and to assist in the transition from living together as a unit to being two independent people. Numerous factors are considered under Arizona law in determining if Spousal Maintenance should be Modified. Many of these factors are the exact same factors which were examined at the time the original Decree of Dissolution was awarded. The following is a partial list of reasons for Modifying Spousal Maintenance:
- The ability of the spouse seeking Maintenance to independently meet their needs (either through separate property or other factors)
- Inability to support oneself through employment
- Inability of the spouse to work due to the young age of the child/ children
- Whether one spouse contributed either financially or through time to the educational opportunities of the other spouse
- Length of the marriage coupled with older age which now precludes the possibility of gaining sufficient employment
- Length of time it would take for a spouse to acquire sufficient education for proper employment
- Both spouses future earning capacities
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Length of the marriage
- The ability of the spouse providing the support to maintain their standard of living while paying out spousal maintenance
- Whether either spouse destroyed, wasted, concealed, or gave away any Community Property
- The comparative earning abilities of each spouse
- The ages of the spouses
- The physical and emotional condition of each spouse
- Jobs held by either spouse during their marriage
- The educational/ vocational skills possessed by the spouse seeking Maintenance
It is important that you prepare a list of all relevant information regarding Spousal Maintenance and provide it to our office as soon as possible. The above list is not all inclusive, and can include any other items which you believe are relevant. At The Cantor Law Group, we are familiar with all Post Judgment Enforcement and Modification issues and can help you immediately!