It's possible to modify your divorce decree to reflect your current circumstances -- for example, if you or your ex-spouse become unemployed. By going back to court, you can request changes to spousal and child support, custody and visitation rights. Updating your decree through the court provides protection for everyone involved and avoids misunderstandings that could occur through more informal arrangements.
Review Colorado Revised Statute Title 14 Article 10. Determine whether you have a substantial change in circumstance to warrant modifying the decree. If the provision you wish to modify is child support, a substantial change in income may be reason to seek modification. When one parent moves out of the area or the child is spending more time than originally planned with one parent, a custody modification may be considered.
Speak with your former spouse to see if you can reach an agreement on the modification and the changes to be included. Offer information you have about any substantial change in circumstances and why the divorce decree should be modified. Ask for the help of a neutral third party, such as facilitator or mediator, if your relationship with your former spouse is hostile.
Prepare the appropriate motion or stipulation if your spouse agrees to the changes to modify the decree, as well as a supporting affidavit, using forms available through your local courthouse website or a third party document preparation site. Include supporting evidence to demonstrate the substantial change in circumstance leading to your request to modify. Provide current financial information when the request is to modify support. A list of Colorado forms specific to the issue you wish to modify and instructions for each form are available on the Colorado State Judicial Branch website under the forms section. Click on the Domestic/Family tab and select from the forms on the left side of the page.
Determine the correct court with jurisdiction if the modification involves custody or visitation. The family courts of Colorado operate under subject matter jurisdiction -- see Colorado Revised Statute 13-1-124 known as the Long-Arm Statute. Under this statute the court which ordered the final decree of divorce will maintain jurisdiction while the parties or their children reside within Colorado. Colorado is bound by the federal jurisdiction laws established under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, codified under Colorado Revised Statute 14-13-101 et seq. If the children no longer reside in Colorado, review the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act to determine whether the modification can be filed in Colorado or the new home state of the children.
File the motion or stipulation along with the supporting affidavit and request for hearing with the clerk of the court for the Colorado county where the original order was granted, or where you currently reside if you are not seeking to modify custody or visitation. When filing for modification to custody or visitation, file your motion and affidavit with the clerk of the court that currently has jurisdiction over your custody arrangement. The clerk will set a hearing date and provide you with a notice of hearing when you file in person.
Serve a copy of your affidavit and motion for modification along with the notice of hearing on your former spouse. Colorado requires the other party to be personally served by a process server or third-party.
Prepare for your hearing by gathering evidence to support your affidavit in support of motion for modification. For example, if you changed jobs recently and are seeking to modify support, you may wish to take copies of your recent pay stubs to the hearing.
Attend the hearing and answer any questions asked by the court truthfully. Upon the request of the court, print and check the appropriate boxes on the order of modification form and submit to the court for the judge's signature. Once the judge signs the order, your divorce decree has been modified.