Lakeland Post-Divorce Modification Attorney
Once a divorce has been finalized, the marriage is officially dissolved, and the parties are free to legally marry another if they so choose. Along with the dissolution of marriage come many court orders regarding issues such as the division of marital property, the payment of spousal support (alimony) and child support, and parenting and timesharing. Although these orders are meant to be final, courts recognize that circumstances might change down the road and create new situations that were not anticipated or foreseen at the time of the divorce. It is possible to modify certain court orders after a divorce, provided you meet the legal criteria and can provide sufficient evidence to prove the need for a modification to the judge in charge of your case. On the other hand, you might be resistant to a change desired by a former spouse, which you need to resolve either in or out of court. Darla K. Snead, P.L., can help. Our family law attorney is skilled and experienced in dealing with conflict, resolving disputes, and generating agreements between opposing parties. She is equally skilled in representing her client’s interests in court when necessary. Below we discuss the circumstances under which divorce court orders can be modified in Florida. If you are seeking or opposing a change to existing family court orders in Polk County, call our experienced Lakeland post-divorce modification attorney for solid legal advice and professional assistance.
Modification of Child Support
Child support is based on factors such as the combined incomes of the parents, the number of children who are being supported, and any extraordinary expenses related to the children, such as special medical needs. If such special needs were not present when child support was first calculated but later appear, this unforeseen circumstance could justify revisiting the child support guidelines and coming up with a more appropriate amount. Other significant changes that could justify modifying the amount of child support could include an up or down change in the income of either parent or a significant change in the parenting plan and timesharing schedule.
Parenting and Timesharing Modifications
It’s a known fact when creating a parenting plan and timesharing schedule that a child’s needs will change as they get older, and anticipated changes are usually written into the plan in some fashion. However, if some extraordinary change occurs that wasn’t foreseen and is not just temporary, it might be proper to modify the existing plan and schedule. Common reasons for modifying the parenting plan and timesharing schedule include:
- Changes in a child’s medical needs
- Changes in the way a child is performing at school
- The addition of particular extracurricular activities to the child’s schedule
- The children are in an unwholesome or dangerous environment under the current plan
- One of the parents is not adhering to the existing plan or agreement
Another very common reason for modifying parenting and timesharing occurs when one of the parents wishes to move out of state or a substantial distance away, either with or without the children. Florida law defines a parental relocation as a move that takes the parent more than 50 miles away and is intended to last for over six months. Before relocating, the parent should seek the agreement of the other parent or go to court and request an appropriate modification of parenting and timesharing to reflect the new arrangement. As with any matter involving children, the moving party will have to show the modification is in the child’s best interests in order to get court approval.
Modification of Spousal Support
Unless the parties made alimony unmodifiable in the original settlement, it’s possible to modify certain forms of spousal support based on appropriate circumstances. Common reasons for modifying alimony (spousal support) include:
- Paying party suffers a job loss or demotion
- Paying party retires
- Receiving party remarries or moves in with another in a supportive relationship
- One of the parties receives a large inheritance or (less often) wins the lottery
Additionally, Florida alimony law dictates when spousal support may and may not be modified depending on the form of alimony being paid:
- Bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable in amount or duration, but it does terminate upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the receiving party.
- Rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated based on a substantial change in circumstances, noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the plan.
- The amount of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based on a substantial change in circumstances, but the length of the award cannot be modified except under exceptional circumstances.
- Permanent alimony may be modified or terminated based on a substantial change in circumstances or the existence of a supportive relationship.
Contact Darla K. Snead Today
If you are looking to modify one or more court orders issued in your Florida divorce, or if you disagree with a proposed modification sought by your ex, Darla K. Snead, P.L., is here to advise you and help you achieve your goals. Call our experienced Lakeland post-divorce modifications lawyer today.