Some Court orders can be easily modified. Other types of Court orders may be difficult to modify, or may not be modifiable at all. As a general rule, legal decision making, child support, and spousal maintenance are generally modifiable so long as one can establish a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. Parenting time can be modified if such is in the child’s best interests.
Modification of Parenting Time Order
MODIFICATION OF LEGAL DECISION MAKING (LEGAL CUSTODY) ORDERS
INCLUDING SCHOOL CHOICE ISSUES
It is generally more difficult to modify legal decision making since Arizona now presumes that joint legal decision making is in the best interests of the children. As noted in the section of this website dealing with legal decision making, the term “custody” is no longer part of the Arizona Statutes. Legal decision making includes educational decisions, health care decisions, and major personal care decisions.
To modify legal decision making, one again must show a substantial and continuing change of circumstances. The children’s desires have less impact on legal decision making. One of the most common grounds to modify legal decision making is where one of the parents is essentially impossible to deal with. Other reasons often include substance abuse and domestic violence.
Choice of schools is often a hotly contested issue within the legal decision making arena. Courts are reluctant to decide what school the children attend, and thus often rule that one parent should have legal decision making responsibilities over education, while maintaining joint legal decision making regarding non-educational issues.