Time moves on quickly…things change, our needs change, children grow older, as well as our abilities to meet demands change as we age. What may have been financially feasible ten years ago may not be the case now. There are many instances where a modification to a final judgement would be proper. Keep in mind, there are only a few areas of family law that are modifiable. Those areas are: alimony, child support, parental responsibility and timesharing (the previous terms were custody andvisitation). In any of these subjects that you may wish to modify you must be able to show a substantial change of circumstances. Equitable distribution and alimony that has been ordered as “non-modifiable”are not subjects for modifications.
What constitutes a substantial change of circumstances? An involuntary, inability to pay anordered support payment such as non-voluntary retirement or unemployment, long term health issuesthat prevent you from earning wages. There could be a significant increase in an ex-spouse’s income that would prove to aid in supporting the parties’ joint minor children. There are new child support guideline laws in affect in Florida that break down the child support based on the percentage of overnight stays the child has with each parent thus making the deductions more specific to each case.As far as changing parental responsibility or time sharing, you could be dealing with destructive behaviorthat affects a parent’s ability to co-parent or a parent’s continued failure to abide by the currentlyordered parenting plan. There are numerous scenarios in the complexities of family law that can qualify for a modification of a final judgement. You may also modify a final judgement more than once.
The important point is to not wait to contact a well qualified family law attorney about your modification until things have gotten so far behind that it becomes a much more lengthy and expensive case than it would have been if you had addressed the issue sooner. In addition, generally a modification can only be retro ordered to begin back to the date of the written court filing that requests the modification.
Please be sure to tune in for our next installment: ” I’m Divorced & Ready to Start a New Life!”. The steps you need to take prior to relocation with minor children.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your divorce decree, please feel free to contact S. David Anton, Esq. of the Anton Legal Group today at 813-443-5249.