What Circumstances Qualify for Post-Divorce Modification in Florida?

The main condition you’ll need to satisfy is proving a substantial change in your or your ex-spouse’s circumstances since the divorce. You’ll also need to show the permanence of these changes and that they weren’t anticipated at the time of the divorce.

Additionally, the courts will only accept modification requests for changes that affect an earlier decision. Here are three of the most common post-divorce decree modification conditions that qualify:

A Change in Financial Circumstances

A change in the financial circumstances of either of the ex-spouses allows them to seek a modification for their divorce decree. Most spouses who go this route seek a modification in the alimony settlements.

While financial circumstances can change for lots of reasons, here are the most common causes you can appeal for:

  • An increase or decrease in income (typically 15% or more)
  • A change in the ability to make payments
  • Loss of employment
  • Retirement
  • Bankruptcy
  • Coming into a substantial sum of money (an inheritance, for example)

A Change in Health Needs

Changes in health needs can cover a variety of circumstances. This request is typically made when an ex-spouse starts having health issues that interfere with their ability to take care of the child. However, ex-spouses can also request changes to the alimony agreement if their health issues interfere with their ability to remit alimony payments.

In addition, the court may also consider changes in the health of the child or the healthcare/health insurance costs.

Other Unique Circumstances

Apart from these, many other circumstances can qualify for post-divorce modifications. These include:

  • Relocation of either ex-spouse
  • Substance abuse/addictions
  • Domestic violence, abuse, or other safety concerns for the child (not previously disclosed or addressed)
  • Discovery of new information/evidence (not known during the original divorce proceedings)

Florida divorce attorney Michael Fayard can help you identify unique factors that can establish your case.

What Can Be Modified in a Florida Post-Divorce Decree?

Florida courts accept requests for post-divorce decree modifications as long as the changes are warranted. Here are common factors and aspects that are typically modified by courts:

Child Support Payments

If either parent can prove a change in health needs or financial circumstances, the courts may allow a modification in child support payments. Modifications may entail increasing or decreasing child support.

Alimony Arrangements

Alimony arrangements are also open for modification if the spouse can prove that there is cause for an increase or decrease in payments. Acceptable causes include retirement, unemployment, disability, inability to make payments, increase in income, etc.

Alimony may also be terminated if the recipient remarried or is living with someone new.

Property Distributions

Property settlements in Florida are only modified if the parties may have accidentally or intentionally omitted or hidden property or related details during the original proceedings.

Child Custody and Visitation Arrangements

The courts can also modify child custody and visitation arrangements under certain conditions such as:

  • Relocation of either parent
  • Changes in the parent’s work schedule
  • Medical issues interfering with the parent’s ability to watch over the child

What About Emergency Child Custody?

Gaining emergency custody is possible if the child is facing imminent danger. In these types of cases, spouses don’t need to follow the same steps for post-divorce decree modification. You can directly file a motion and provide the required documents to substantiate your claim. You’ll want to gather the following:

If the motion is accepted, you’ll be granted a hearing and your child will be placed in temporary custody until the hearing takes place. When the court convenes, it may order protection for the child or grant permanent custody rights to the other parent.

Steps for Modifying a Divorce Decree in Florida

The first step when modifying a divorce decree is hiring a Florida divorce attorney. Your lawyer can help you decide the best way to move forward. After obtaining legal representation, you have two options: reach a mutual agreement with the other party or file a request for modification.

Reaching mutual agreement involves requesting a modification from your ex-spouse’s attorney. If both of you agree to the terms, you can proceed with a joint petition.

If your ex-spouse refuses the conditions of your request, you can file a direct petition with the court. You’ll also need to gather documents and evidence that support your case. Depending on the changes requested, you may be required to provide any of the following:

  • Bank statements and financial documents
  • Medical records
  • Lease or deed (for relocation)
  • Proof of address change
  • Proof of unemployment

Once the matter goes to trial, the court will hold hearings to consider the modifications.

Note that in some cases, the court may reject the modification even if both parties agree to it. An experienced attorney can help you avoid this by ensuring your case is well represented while all facts and evidence are promptly endorsed to the court.

Contact 941 Law Help for Divorce Modification Assistance

Getting the court to modify your divorce decree in Florida can be challenging. From ensuring your case is valid to gathering sufficient proof and making a convincing argument during mediations/trial proceedings, there’s a lot you need to do.

Seeking counsel can ensure favorable results. If you’re ready to petition your case, get in touch with Michael Fayard at 941 Law Help. Our firm can help you explore your options, navigate the legal system, and get your divorce decree modified.

Contact us or call 941-265-2733 today. The first consultation is free.