The dissolution of a marriage is the first step in what will likely be a series of transitions. As life goes on and your family’s needs evolve, child support or spousal support orders, as well as parenting plans, may no longer be workable. Whether it’s a career change that requires an out-of-state relocation, an involuntary job loss that makes it difficult for one party to maintain child support obligations, or any similar change in circumstances, it may be possible to seek a modification of a final divorce judgment. Because modifying a court order is a complicated process, however, it is crucial to work with an experienced family law attorney.
Orlando Family Team has extensive experience helping our clients obtain modifications of family law judgments. Whether you are seeking a modification of alimony, child support, or parenting time, we can help you argue for or against the modification. At the same time, our husband and wife team have a proven history of helping our clients negotiate voluntary modification agreements. When you work with us, we will help you explore all of your options and reach a solution that works for the entire family.
How can I modify a family law court order or judgment?
If you and your ex agree that your circumstances have changed and modification of support or custody is needed, you can jointly petition the court for the modification and a judge will likely approve the request. While you and your ex may be in agreement, only the court can modify a family law judgment. Nonetheless, a voluntary agreement is more civil and less costly than petitioning the court on your own. If your ex does not agree to the modification, however, you must be present the court with evidence that there has been a compelling change in circumstances.
Modification of Alimony and Child Support Orders
While each case is unique, the court may agree to increase, decrease, or terminate an alimony or child support order. If you are seeking an increase in child support, for example, circumstances that might warrant the modification include:
- Increased need for medical care
- Increase in the cost of after-school care or extracurricular activities
- Other special needs
Additionally, you must also be able to show that your ex has the ability to pay a higher amount. If you’re seeking to decrease or terminate such support payments, on the other hand, the change of circumstances must be involuntary, such as a loss of income due to an employment layoff or medical emergency. If you quit your job, the modification will likely be denied. Under no circumstances should you stop making child support payments without the court’s approval, otherwise you face potential criminal charges and penalties.
Child Custody, Parenting, and Time-Sharing
Parenting and child custody schedules that are established in a divorce judgment are often revisited as children grow and their needs change. Because stability is important to children, the courts are generally reluctant to modify an existing custody determination unless there has been an unforeseen, substantial, and permanent change in circumstances. Examples of changed circumstances that would justify a modification of a child custody or time sharing schedule include:
- Relocation of one or both parents
- The onset of a disabling medical condition (whether temporary or long-term)
- A parent’s refusal to honor the time-sharing schedule
In any event, modifications of a custody order or time-sharing agreement must be in the child’s best interest. The best decision you can make to protect your child and your parental rights is by working with Orland Family Team. Founding attorneys Ophelia Bernal-Mora and Andrew Nickolaou understand how difficult raising children are even under the best of circumstances. If your parental agreement is no longer working for you and your children, we will assess your situation and help you explore all of your options.
Contact Our Orlando Modifications Lawyer
When you come to Orlando Family Team, you get the benefit of a husband and wife team working together to resolve your matter. We know that these matters can become highly contentious when the parties don’t agree on modifications and will aggressively represent your interests in court. Whenever possible, however, we believe it is best to reach a negotiated resolution. Whether through litigation or negotiation, you can trust us to advance your best interests and stand by you every step of the way. If you are seeking a modification of a custody or support order in Central Florida, contact our office today for a consultation.