Modification of Decrees under Florida Law
Modification of Divorce Decrees in Florida
If significant circumstances have changed since your divorce, you can file a petition for modifying its terms. However, navigating the process of pursuing a post-judgment modification for divorce can be complex, which is why seeking the assistance of an experienced Family Law Attorney is crucial.
What can be Modified?
Courts have the authority to reconsider almost any element of a divorce decree, except certain provisions related to property distribution. Post-judgment modifications typically revolve around alimony, child custody, and child support.
These areas often require careful evaluation and may be subject to modification based on the changing circumstances or the best interests of the parties involved.
Qualifying for a Modification of Decree
To qualify for a modification of decree under Florida family law, it is essential to demonstrate substantial and unanticipated reasons that warrant the modification. This typically requires a significant change in circumstances related to an issue that was previously decided in court.
Some examples of significant changes in circumstances may include:
- Job loss or an increase in income for either ex-spouse.
- Changes in the financial needs of either party, such as unexpected medical expenses or loss of financial support.
- Instances of domestic abuse or other safety concerns that were not previously disclosed or addressed.
- The discovery of new evidence or information that was previously unknown during the original divorce proceedings.
Differences Between an Appeal and a Modification of Decree
An appeal challenges a court's decision based on legal errors or improper procedures, seeking to overturn or modify the ruling. In contrast, a modification of decree requests a change to an existing court order due to substantial changes in circumstances.
In other words, appeals focus on legality and procedure, while modifications of decrees focus on practicality and fairness based on new circumstances.
How to Obtain a Modification of Decree in Florida
In Florida, there are two ways to modify a divorce decree: reach a mutual agreement with the other party before filing a request, or file the request for modification directly.
If the parties can't agree, the process can be lengthy and involve serving the other party, discovery, mediation, and a court hearing. If a modification is granted, payments are typically retroactive to the date of filing.
Increasing your Chances of Modification Approval
If your circumstances haven't significantly changed and your request stems from a dispute with your ex-spouse, the courts are unlikely to approve the modification.
To increase the likelihood of a successful modification decree request in Florida family law, it's crucial to demonstrate your full compliance with the original agreement since its approval. This includes adhering to scheduled payments and upholding custody or visitation arrangements.
- Prioritize amicable resolution: Attempt to resolve disputes through correspondence, maintaining a written record of your efforts.
- Avoid rushing to court prematurely: Reserve legal action for significant and legitimate concerns, as courts may favor a less reactionary approach.
- Establish a solid record of violations: If attempts at amicable resolution have been unsuccessful, gather evidence of the violations to support your case for modification.
Where Should the Modification Request be Filed?
The request for modification of decrees must be filed in the same county where the divorce occurred. If both parties have left, your lawyer can advise you on the correct location to file. For parenting issues, modifications might take place in the county where the children are now living.
Call Our Family Law Attorneys!
If you are seeking modification of your divorce decree or require legal representation for matters related to your separation or divorce, reach out to the experienced divorce attorneys at The Roberts Family Law Firm in Orlando. Contact us today at 407-426-6999 to discover more about our expertise and services.