Once a ruling has been entered by the court, there are only certain aspects of that decision that can be modified in the future. The division of assets and debts is a permanent order and cannot be modified. Orders regarding children and financial support can be changed in the future.

A modification regarding legal decision-making (custody) and parenting time (visitation) can take place if there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances involving the children. Generally, a modification cannot be sought sooner than one year following the entry of the most recent order unless there is an emergency situation.

Examples of substantial and continuing changes for Post-Decree Modification in Arizona include:

  1. Major changes to a child’s health or educational performance;
  2. A parent’s use of drugs, excessive alcohol, or involvement in criminal activities;
  3. Or the introduction of new parental relationships which are severely and adversely affecting the children.

The children’s increase in age or a parent dating or getting remarried are not usually the basis for a modification.

A request to modify legal decision-making or parenting time requires a formal document be filed with the court which specifically identifies the issues and presents a proposal on how to resolve them in accordance with the best interests of the children. If the petition does not meet certain standards, it can be denied outright by the court.

Financial orders such as spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) and child support can be modified at any time there is a change in financial circumstances. These changes can include a parent’s change in income, a change in the cost of health insurance or child care, or a parent supporting another biological or adopted child. The court has a simplified procedure to modify child support which helps to speed the process.

What are the Benefits of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

The benefits of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement cannot be overstated. Marriage is a legal status affecting individual property rights. If a marriage ends, deciding how to distribute property is often the biggest source of conflict for couples. Pre-Nuptial Agreements minimize such difficulties by documenting each spouse’s separate property to keep it separate; avoiding court involvement and the potential for a judge to decide on property distribution; assigning debt (credit cards, school loans, mortgages) to the appropriate spouse, so both spouses don’t share debt liability; and avoiding costly, extended court proceedings.

Can we Modify a Pre-Nuptial Agreement after Marriage?

Yes. In general, you will be able to alter or modify any terms of the Agreement. The changes must be in writing and signed by both parties. The other terms of the Agreement will remain intact, unless you revoke the entire agreement in writing.

What Can and Cannot be in a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

Any sort of property can be included in the Agreement, such as homes, automobiles, stocks, checking accounts, business ownerships or personal belongings. Debts can also be categorized as separate property. This prevents one spouse from being liable for the debts of the other should the marriage dissolve. Spousal support can be waived or limited in Pre-Nuptial Agreement. However, anything having to do with children born during marraige (custody, support, etc.) in a prenuptial agreement is not binding upon the court.