You probably spent considerable time and effort negotiating the agreements that lay out your divorce. It can be frustrating when your arrangements regarding spousal support, parenting time, or child support do not work as well as you hoped and expected.

The law allows you to work with a dedicated family attorney to modify divorce orders when you meet specific requirements. Whether you want to change an agreement or keep them the same, a Coral Way post-judgment modification lawyer can help. 

Divorce Order Modification Basics

The orders a Judge issues with a divorce decree are legally enforceable and the parties must follow them unless a court changes it. The process of changing an order is called seeking a modification.

In general, property division orders cannot be modified. The Judge expects the parties to carry out the property division per the court’s order immediately. Other orders the Judge issues with a divorce decree can be modified, subject to certain limits.

Negotiation is usually the best strategy when someone in Coral Way seeks to modify a divorce order. When the former spouses agree on a change, they can submit it to the court with the request for modification. Courts typically approve modifications if both parties agree and if any change that impacts children furthers their best interests. When parents do not agree, the parent seeking the modification must go to court and convince the Judge that the change is necessary.  

Modifying Parental Timesharing Agreements

Florida Statute § 61.13 allows parents to modify their timesharing arrangement if they can demonstrate a significant and substantial change in circumstances merits the change. When a child 14 or older desires to move in with the other parent, the law acknowledges this is sufficient to modify the parenting plan.

The courts expect parents to work together to adapt to changes in life circumstances without changing their timesharing arrangement. However, the law recognizes that things happen that require a change. Other circumstances that could justify modifying the parenting plan include:

  • The relocation of a parent;
  • A substantial change to a parent’s work schedule;
  • Destruction or severe damage to a parent’s home;
  • Parent or child develops a significant physical or mental health issue;
  • Parent or child develops a substance abuse problem;
  • Parent’s household includes an undesirable person such as convicted sex offender.

A Coral Way attorney can evaluate a specific situation and advise a parent whether it is likely to meet the threshold for modifying the divorce order.

Even when parents meet the substantial change test, the Judge will still review the modification request. Courts will not approve any modification unless the parent seeking the change proves it is in the children’s best interests. 

Modifying Financial Arrangements

Divorced spouses often have a financial relationship with each other for years after the divorce. If they have children together, the non-residential parent typically pays child support. When one spouse is financially dependent on the other during the marriage, a Judge might order spousal maintenance payments. These obligations can be modified in most cases. 

Modifying Child Support

An income-based formula determines a parent’s child support obligation. When the paying parent can show that applying the formula to their current situation would change the monthly payment by 15 percent or $50, a court will consider a petition to adjust the payment.  

Modifying Spousal Maintenance

Alimony is supposed to be a stopgap in most cases. The law expects a financially dependent spouse to work to become self-supporting as soon as possible, unless their age or health prevents them from doing so. 

Either party can seek a modification of an alimony order, but they must show a significant change in circumstances. Some of these changes include a job loss, retirement, the receiving party cohabitating with an intimate partner, or a significant change in either party’s income. 

However, when a person cites job loss or diminished income as a reason for the request, the Judge is likely to review the situation to determine whether the party is doing this intentionally. If so, the Judge may refuse to grant the modification.

Contact a Coral Way Attorney About Modifying Your Divorce Orders Today

Life throws unexpected events our way and sometimes they require making a change to court orders. A Coral Way post-judgment modification lawyer can help you change the orders or prevent your former spouse from doing so.

Working with The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm can reduce your stress and increase your chances of success. Set up a free case evaluation with a caring family attorney today.