Legal Guidance for Modifying Child Custody, Child Support, and Alimony Agreements
It is not unusual for ex-spouses or the unmarried parents of a child to want to amend court orders. Florida law allows persons to petition the court for a modification to an original divorce decree or paternity order due to significant and unforeseen changes in their circumstances. When current court orders become obsolete, a post-judgment modification may be necessary. The Davies Law Firm, LLC, represents clients in these matters, primarily focusing on child support, child custody, parenting plans, and spousal support.
Attorney Kathleen Davies is a powerful voice, advocating on her client’s behalf in and out of the courtroom. Her priority is always safeguarding the clients and child’s rights and best interests. The Davies Law Firm, LLC, can guide you through the legal process of a modification whether or not we represented you in your initial divorce or paternity proceeding.
Florida Child Custody and Child Support
At The Davies Law Firm, LLC, we intricately know the legal procedures required to modify child custody or support orders. We can help you file a motion to receive court approval of a modification or defend against an alleged change of circumstance if you feel it is not in your child’s best interests.
Because Florida family courts encourage stability for child custody arrangements, they are hesitant to grant modifications for custody agreements unless it is proven that the changes are in the best interests of the child’s life, happiness, and well-being.
Florida Spousal Support
In Florida, alimony is based on one party’s needs and the other party’s ability to pay. If either party receives an increase or decrease in income, that could constitute a substantial change in circumstances and warrant a modification of the alimony amount.
Remarriage is among the most common grounds for modifying spousal support. State lawmakers amended the statute to allow family court judges to consider cohabitation or de facto marriage as grounds for modifying or terminating alimony.
Circumstances that May Support a Modification include, but are not limited to:
- An unforeseen and long-term increase or decrease in either party’s income
- Loss of a job, retirement, or other significant change in an ex-partner’s life situation
- An unforeseen medical issue affecting the cost of care for a parent or a child
- Long-distance parental relocation
- New evidence of asset or debt concealment
- Changes in the needs of a child, such as daycare costs, health care, or education
- Changes in the number of overnight visits with a parent
- A parent becomes incapable of providing a safe and stable environment for a child due to mental illness or chemical dependency
- A parent is incarcerated
Meeting the Criteria for a Change in Circumstances
In Florida, a petitioner seeking a modification has the burden to prove a change in circumstances. The change must be substantial, permanent in nature, and involuntary. A substantial change may be a new disabling diagnosis of a parent or child or relocation of a parent more than fifty miles away. A permanent change is one that generally lasts for six months or more. An involuntary change is one not under control by the petitioner. A voluntary change does not meet the standard for a modification, such as taking a lower-paying job.
It is important to note that modification of court orders is only retroactive to the date of the request and not the date of the change in circumstances. For example, if you lose a job and wait four months before requesting a modification, you could be held responsible for the four months of payments.
Contact a Caring and Knowledgeable Central Florida Law Firm
Attorney Kathleen Davies believes that communication is key to the success of family law cases. At The Davies Law Firm, LLC, we want our clients to be well informed to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. We create strategies to meet our client’s goals by listening carefully to their challenges and how it has impacted their lives. We are always available to take our client’s calls.
The legal team at The Davies Law Firm, LLC, has an intricate understanding of the laws applicable to modifications. We can advise you if you meet the criteria to petition for a change. If you have questions about what is required for a post-divorce or post-paternity modification, call The Davies Law Firm, LLC, at 855-688-4713 to schedule a Free Consultation. Our office is located in Cocoa, Florida and we represent clients in Brevard, Orange, Seminole, and Osceola Counties.