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Finding Legal Help

You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. See the Finding Legal Help page for information about free and low cost ways to get legal help. 

Como encontrar ayuda legal

Usted no está obligado a contratar un abogado, pero los asuntos legales pueden ser complicados. Considere la posibilidad de hablar con un abogado para hablar de sus opciones. Para información sobre cómo obtener ayuda legal vea nuestra página Como encontrar ayuda legal.

Modification of a Divorce Decree

Introduction

This page includes information and forms for modifying a final divorce decree. This page is specific to issues unrelated to children, such as the division of retirement funds. For these kinds of modifications you can only modify a divorce decree issued from a Utah court. You might need to modify other aspects of your final order. If you need to modify:

Was there a material and substantial change in circumstances?

If you want the court to change your decree you must show that there has been a material (important) and substantial (major) change in circumstances since the divorce decree was issued. The change could involve one or both parties or any children from the marriage.

If you are asking to change alimony in your decree, you might need to ask more questions before continuing.

  • Is the change in alimony based on you or your ex's retirement?
  • If yes, is retirement mentioned in your divorce papers? Read the divorce decree and the findings of fact and conclusions of law carefully. Do they clearly say that retirement is not a substantial material change in circumstances? If they do, then you cannot request a modification of alimony based on retirement. If they don't say this, then you can ask for the change.

The modification process

Complete the documents

Either party can request a modification. The party asking for the modification files the forms in the Forms section below.

No matter who is asking for the modification, whoever was the petitioner in the original case is still the petitioner, and whoever was the respondent in the original case is still the respondent.

Domestic Relations Injunction

When a Petition to Modify Divorce Decree is filed, the court will automatically issue an order called a Domestic Relations Injunction. The injunction is a court order requiring parties not to harass one another, change insurance or beneficiary coverage, transfer property or make non-routine travel with the parties' minor children while the case is pending. There are additional prohibitions in the injunction. Be sure to read it carefully.

The injunction is effective for the petitioner when the Petition to Modify is filed. The injunction is effective for the respondent when the petitioner gets a copy of the injunction to them. See the Domestic Relations Injunction web page for more information.

File the documents

The party asking for the modification must file the documents in the same court that issued the decree. The documents will use the same case number as the decree. For information about how to file documents, see the Filing Procedures web page.

The party asking for the modification must pay a filing fee when they file the papers with the court. If they cannot afford the fees they can ask the judge to waive them. For more information, see the Fees and Fee Waiver web page.

Have the documents served

The party asking for the modification must have the other party served with the Petition to Modify Divorce Decree, summons, and other documents no later than 120 days after the petition is filed. The documents must be served on the other party by one of the methods described in Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d). The party asking for the modification must file with the court a proof of service once service has been completed. For more information about service, see the Serving Papers web page.

The other party's options

The other party has 21 days (if they were served in Utah) or 30 days (if they were served outside of Utah) to respond to ("answer") the Petition to Modify Divorce Decree if they disagree with anything stated in the petition. For more information, see the Answering a Complaint or Petition web page.

If the other party…

Then…

If the other party…

Files an answer

Then…

Both parties must provide initial disclosures to each other, including a Financial Declaration. For more information and forms, see the Initial Disclosures web page and the Financial Declarations web page.

The court may order the parties to try to come to an agreement in mediation. Some parties may be required by their existing decree to go through mediation before filing anything with the court. For more information, see the Mediation web page.

If the other party…

Agrees with everything asked for in the petition before it is filed, or the parties come to an agreement after it is filed.

Then…

See the Stipulation section below.

If the other party…

Does not file an answer

Then…

If the other party has been properly served and does not file an answer within the time specified in the Summons, the party asking for the modification may ask for a default judgment. This means the party asking for the modification gets what they have asked for, and the other party won't have a chance to tell their side of the story. For more information and forms, see the Default Judgments web page.

Stipulation

A "stipulation" is a written agreement that shows the parties agree about everything requested in the Petition to Modify Divorce Decree.

The parties can agree on everything in the Petition to Modify Divorce decree before it is filed. In that case, they can file a stipulated petition.

If you are using the forms provided on this web page:

  • Check the "and Stipulation" box on the first page of the Petition.
  • Both parties must sign the Petition.
    • The party asking for the modification signs on the second-to-last page, and
    • the other party signs the last page, in the "Stipulation" section.

The parties might come to an agreement after the Petition is filed because the parties mediated or had some other negotiation.

If you are using the forms provided on this web page:

  • Fill out a new Petition to Modify Divorce Decree. Write "Amended" above "Petition to Modify Divorce Decree" on the first page and check the "and Stipulation" box.
  • Both parties must sign the Petition.
    • The party asking for the modification signs on the second-to-last page, and
    • the other party signs the last page, in the "Stipulation" section.

Temporary order

Either party can ask for a temporary order if needed during the modification case if the requirements in Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 106 are met. For more information and forms, see the How to get a Temporary Order web page.

Asking for Default Judgment

See the Default Judgment web page for information and forms.

Going to Trial

See the Getting Ready for Trial web page for information and forms.

Forms

Forms to Petition to Modify Divorce Decree

Required forms
  • Civil Coversheet - PDF | Word
  • Petition and Stipulation to Modify Divorce Decree - PDF | Word
    (if the parties agree and sign the stipulation, they only need to file the Petition and Stipulation, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on Petition and Order on Petition. They can file these all at the same time)
  • Summons
  • Proof of Service
  • Notice of Disclosure Requirements in Domestic Relations Cases - PDF Word
    (See our Initial Disclosures page for more information)
  • Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on Petition to Modify Divorce Decree - PDF | Word
  • Order on Petition to Modify Divorce Decree - PDF | Word
  • Notice of Judgment - PDF | Word

Forms to Oppose a Petition to Modify Divorce Decree

Required forms

Related Information

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.

Page Last Modified: 5/2/2022

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