What is Modification?

It is a request made to the court to change an existing court order because of a change in circumstances in either the parents or the children. Division of property and debt from divorce usually cannot be modified. Alimony, child support, and child custody orders can be modified based on a  change in circumstances.

Modification of Child Custody

A child custody modification is appropriate when the current order is no longer in the child(ren)’s best interest. A request for a change in custody must include a substantial change of circumstances for example:  child abuse, neglect, domestic violence or drug abuse.

Modification of Child Support

Either party may petition for a modification of child support when there is an increase in one party’s income or a decrease in the other party’s income by either 15% or $50 whichever is greater. In addition, modification of child support also applies when there is a change of circumstances of the parents or the child’s. Some examples include the loss of a job, a parent’s sudden disability, or a child’s increased need. The party trying to change the court’s child support order has the burden of proving that the change is “sufficient, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature.”

Modification of Alimony

Before you can file for modification of alimony in Florida you must prove a “Substantial Change in Circumstances.” If you do not satisfy this requirement, the request will be denied.  A “substantial change in circumstances” means a change that was unanticipated at the time the alimony was ordered by the court. The change must be permanent, involuntary, and material. Some examples of major changes may include, but are not limited to the following: health issues, employment, gifts, substantial raises, large inheritance, lottery winnings, retirement by the payor, payee gets married or payor’s long- term involuntary decreased ability to pay. Remember, the party attempting to change the alimony has the responsibility of proving the substantial change in circumstances.

If you are facing modification questions, contact Jeannette Watkin, Esq., to represent you in your modification proceedings. Call JWatkin Law. P.A., for a confidential consultation at (786) 272-6360, or contact us online.