When a court issues a divorce decree, it contains orders regarding property division, spousal support, child support, and a parenting plan that covers time-sharing and decision-making responsibility. Judges try hard to ensure their orders will be fair for the divorced couple.
As time goes on, sometimes an order that was reasonable when it was issued is no longer workable or fair. In that case, the parties can sometimes modify the order with the help of a committed family attorney.
Not every divorce order is modifiable and there are legal requirements you must meet before a Judge will change an order. Talk to a Coconut Grove post-judgment modification lawyer when you would like to redo a divorce order.
Most Orders Can Be Modified
Property division orders cannot be changed once a court issues them, unless one spouse presents evidence the other committed fraud in their financial affidavit. However, other divorce orders can be changed under certain circumstances.
Orders regarding alimony, time-sharing, and parental decision-making can be modified if the parties prove a substantial change in circumstances. Examples of situations that could justify a modification include the following:
- Job loss;
- Significant change in the health of either party or a child of the marriage;
- Children’s activities that interfere with the current parenting time schedule;
- Remarriage of either party;
- Catastrophe, such as one parent losing a home in a natural disaster.
A Coconut Grove attorney could advise someone whether a specific change is significant enough to justify a post-judgment change in a court order.
A formula determines the child support obligation. The justification for changing a child support order is explained in Florida Statute § 61.14. When applying the child support formula to the parents’ current financial situation would change the child support payment by at least $50 or 15 percent per month, whichever is greater, the parents are entitled to a child support modification.
Negotiation in Changing Divorce Orders
When former spouses need to change something after a divorce, the simplest and least expensive strategy is for them to work out between themselves how to modify the arrangement.
Sometimes couples agree on what needs to change and how, while other times they agree a change is necessary but disagree on the details. Mediation can help a couple craft an acceptable and workable solution. When poor communication or other issues make mediation difficult, their legal representatives could negotiate with each other until they reach a solution.
Once the former spouses have agreed on a post-judgment modification, a Coconut Grove attorney submits it to the court for approval. Judges usually accept modifications the parties have agreed on. However, when the agreement involves children, the Judge must review the change to ensure it supports the children’s best interests. The court might schedule a hearing asking the parties to explain their modification request if the Judge has concerns.
Petitioning the Court for a Modification
Sometimes one former spouse wants to modify a divorce order and the other does not. When negotiation does not work, the party who wants the modification must submit a petition to the court.
The petition must describe the change in circumstance that justifies the change. The change must be significant but the Judge will look at other facts as well. For example, if a former spouse seeks to reduce their alimony obligation due to a job loss, the court will consider whether the job loss was voluntary (sometimes people purposefully earn less so they must pay less to a former spouse). In these cases, a Judge is unlikely to grant a request for modification.
Once a Judge issues an order it has the force of law until a court changes it. The parties cannot stop complying with an order until the Judge issues a new order. A Coconut Grove attorney could explain the parties’ obligations while a request to modify is pending.
Work with a Coconut Grove Attorney on Post-Judgment Modification Today
It is common for couples to modify divorce orders, but that does not mean it is not complicated. You can save time and energy by working with a Coconut Grove post-judgment modification lawyer.