How can I modify a previous court order in my family law case?
After finalizing your divorce or paternity matter, things often change and your final agreements may need to be changed. The courts deal with these changes through the modification process. In order to prevent the court system from being bogged down with modification requests, Florida law requires a strict standard be met before a modification action can be filed. The party filing the modification action must prove a “substantial change in circumstance,” in order for their petition for modification to be legally valid.
Unless your divorce decree specifically states that the alimony awarded in your case is non-modifiable, a party can typically modify alimony. Modifications of alimony are usually needed due to a change in either parties’ financial circumstances after divorce. Alimony is based on one parties need and the others ability to pay. The moving party must prove a “substantial change in circumstance” in their petition for modification. A “substantial change in circumstance” may include, one party losing their job or making significantly less money, or a salary increase.
If the financial circumstances of either party change, child support can be legally modified upon a showing of a “substantial change of circumstance.” Such circumstances may include, one party losing their job, one party making significantly more or less money, or daycare and health insurance changes. It is important to note that the change in financial circumstances must not be voluntary. For example, taking a lower paying job purposefully in order to reduce child support obligations.
In order to change a parenting plan the moving party will have to prove both a “substantial change in circumstance” and that the change is in the best interests of the child(ren). Some situations may include, one household becoming abusive or unsafe, relocation of a parent, or life style changes that include increased work hours and substance abuse.
The modification process is legally complex. If you are considering a modification of your current alimony, child support, or time-sharing agreement, it is important to contact a South Florida Modification lawyer for more information.