New circumstances may arise after a final judgment or final order. In family law, almost all final orders or judgments can be modified. If the parties do not agree to the change, the party seeking the change may apply to the court by the filing of a Motion with the court for a Modification. All modification concerning a minor child must be in the child’s best interest.
A party may seek to modify a child support obligation for various reasons. The reasons for a modification request include:
- Proof that the modification is in the best interest of the child.
- Proof of a substantial change in the circumstances of either party, or
- Proof that the child for whom support is being paid has reached the age of majority, has become emancipated, has married, has joined the armed services or has died.
Child Support may continue for a child who is older than 18.
Child Support may continue beyond the age of 18 if there is proof that the child is mentally or physically incapacitated and that such incapacity began prior to the child reaching the age of majority or that the child is in fact dependent, has not yet reached 19, is still in high school performing in good faith, and is reasonably expected to graduate before turning 19.
Each application for a Modification of Child Support must be accompanied by a Financial Affidavit in conformity with Florida Statutes.
Parental Responsibility, Parenting Plan
Unlike Child Support, a court will not modify Parental Responsibility, Parenting Plan or a Time-Sharing Schedule for a minor child without proof that there is a substantial, material and unanticipated change in circumstances and that the modification is in the best interest of the child.
The language of the Final Judgment and the Mediated or Marital Settlement Agreement (if there were any such Agreements) controls whether a former spouse may modify Spousal Support/Alimony. Absent specific language, the type of alimony that was awarded determines whether or not it can be modified or terminated.
Permanent alimony, for example, terminates on the death of either the paying party or the receiving party or upon the remarriage of the receiving party. Otherwise, this type of alimony may only be modified or terminated based on a substantial change in circumstances of either party or upon a finding that the party entitled to receive alimony is in a supportive relationship with a third party with whom he/she resides. The existence of a supportive relationship is decided on a case by case basis and the burden is on the party seeking to terminate alimony to show that the relationship is in fact a supportive one.
On the other hand, Bridge-the-gap Alimony, alimony awarded to assist in the transition from being married to single, may not be modified.
Attorney Hall is familiar and has experience handling various modifications. If you have been served with a Petition for Modification or desire to Petition the Court to Modify a Current court order for Support, Time-Sharing or any other such family matters, please Contact us for a consultation.