Divorcing couples usually try to make agreements that will work over the long term. But life happens, and sometimes an agreement that previously made sense is no longer workable or appropriate. Our trusted family law attorneys can help with that.
The law allows you to modify certain aspects of your divorce agreement, with some restrictions. A South Miami post-judgment modification lawyer can explain whether your situation merits a modification, and if so, help you get approval from the court.
Changing Circumstances Can Justify Modification
When a court issues a divorce decree, it includes orders establishing a parenting plan, child support, and spousal support if warranted. The decree also contains a final order concerning property division.
When the parties want to modify the parenting plan or support arrangements, they must prove that new circumstances make the old arrangement unfair or unworkable. Some examples include:
- One parent develops a severe physical or mental health issue;
- Job loss or promotion makes a significant impact on a party’s income;
- Disaster, such as a flood or fire, destroys a parent’s home;
- Children’s schedules make the current time-sharing arrangement unfeasible;
- One party has another child; or
- One party remarries or begins cohabitating with an intimate partner.
Modification also might be necessary if one party relocates out of the area. There are special procedures a parent must follow if they want to relocate and bring the children with them. A South Miami attorney can provide guidance on how to proceed with these post-judgment modifications.
Post-Divorce Orders That Could Be Modified
Not all orders can be modified after a divorce. Property division orders are final, for example, and some forms of alimony cannot be changed. However, other orders can be modified when new circumstances require it.
Parental Time Sharing
As children grow, their needs, desires, interests, and schedules change. A parenting plan must adapt to those changes and sometimes that requires modifying the parenting plan to change the time-sharing arrangements. Significant changes in a parent’s life also could require a change in the plan, but Judges expect parents to adapt to changes without disrupting the children’s routines whenever possible.
A Judge will review any modification to ensure it supports the children’s best interests, and a South Miami attorney can help a parent present the plan to show the child will benefit.
Child support is calculated using a formula that considers each parent’s income, how many children they support together and separately, how much time each parent houses the children, and other factors. Significant changes in income, the birth of an additional child, a child reaching adulthood and leaving home, and changes to the time-sharing arrangement could impact the child support calculation.
Parents are entitled to modify the child support payment if their payment would vary by 15 percent or $50, whichever is greater, using current data. However, parents must continue making support payments in accordance with the order until a Judge approves a change.
Bridge-the-gap and lump sum alimony orders cannot be modified. Florida Statute § 61.14 allows modification of other forms of alimony if new circumstances support it.
Courts Favor Negotiated Modifications
Parties cannot change the orders the Judge issued with the divorce decree at will. They must seek court approval to revise an order.
However, Judges encourage people to negotiate a new arrangement if the old one is not working. Mediators and collaborative divorce teams can help parties resolve disputes and create new arrangements that suit their current needs. If necessary, a South Miami attorney can negotiate with the other party’s legal representative to reach a post-divorce modification acceptable to both parties.
If one party seeks a modification and the other opposes it, the party seeking a modification must petition the court to allow it. The petitioner must prove that circumstances justify the requested modification, and the other party can present evidence disputing the need for a modification.
Contact a South Miami Attorney About Modifying Divorce Judgments Today
Your life might have been very different when you got divorced than it is now. When the original court orders are no longer effective, fair, or appropriate, you can seek a modification.