Modification of Family Law Orders
Modificationof family law orders occurs when one party of a divorced couple seeks to have thestanding Court Order modified due to changes of the circumstances which originally led to thestanding Court Order¶s original mandates/stipulations. Modifications of family law orders arealso called post judgment modifications. They may include modifications in childcustody/visitation/time sharing arrangements, changes in child support, geographicrestriction/relocation, and spousal support or alimony.Just because a Florida divorce decree has been issued, it does not mean challenges for thedivorced couples have come to an end. Family law orders are not forever etched in stone.Divorced parties are entitled to demonstrate before the court that a substantial change incircumstances is enough to justify a modification in the original court judgment or order. If both parties agree to the modification(s), then an agreement can be drafted, signed by both parties, andsubmitted to the court so that the modification(s) can be put into effect. One party may need tomove out of state; a modification of a judgment prohibiting such a move may be needed. Or the parties¶ financial circumstances may change, warranting a modification in the amount of alimonyor child support needed.
Modifications of Family Law Orders are Usually Associated with the Following:
Child Custody²in Florida, a modification or change to a child custody or childvisitation order can be requested by either divorced parent. The request may also be a joint request when agreement has been reached on the part of both parents as to themodifications to be made. Even in cases in which both parents are in agreement, thecourt must approve the child custody/child visitation agreement. Unless courtapproval is granted, enforcement of the new changes if one parent changes his or her mind and decides not to honor the prior mutually agreed upon arrangement, becomesimpossible. In cases in which one parent wants a change in the existing court order and the other parent does not, that parent must file a motion to the court asking for thecourt to modify the standing court order. The parent requesting the change isresponsible for demonstrating that a substantial change in circumstances exists,warranting the requested change. Any modification of family law orders regardingcustody/visitation must of course be in the best interest of the child or children.
Child Support²In order for the court to honor a request by either divorced parent tomodify child support payments; it must be proven that a substantial change (increaseor decrease) in income has occurred. Guidelines must be properly calculated anddocumented from the start. Full and mandatory financial disclosure is required.Modifications to child support payments often occur when the parent who is payingthe support experiences a significant increase or decrease in income. They may also be called for in cases in which a child develops a special need²a physical or mentaldisability requiring therapy, for example.