Is Your Case Ripe for a Modification? Here are the Standards You Must Satisfy
As with many situations in life, circumstances change as time goes on. This is true of court-ordered spousal support (alimony), child support, and time-sharing. When either party finds him or herself in a position where they think there is a need for modification, Florida Family Courts have very definite standards in place. Obtaining a modification is not easy, but it can be done. The following guidelines will help you decide if your situation will qualify for a hoped-for modification. However, it is always best to seek the advice and help of an experienced Family Law Attorney when seeking a modification of spousal support, alimony, or parental time-sharing.
Alimony: To begin with, there are six types of alimony potentially awarded in Florida, but not all types can be modified. Unless modification of alimony has been waived in the final decree for dissolution of marriage, the following types of alimony can be modified. Permanent Alimony can be modified as to the amount of payments but not to the duration which, unless the recipient remarries or cohabitates with a non-relative, is for the lifetime of either party. Durational alimony can be modified for the length of time of payments but not for the amount of the payments. Rehabilitative alimony can be terminated if the party receiving the alimony does not abide by the court-ordered plan for rehabilitation. For alimony to be modified, there must be a substantial change in circumstances such as unavoidable job loss or prolonged health issues, none of which were contemplated at the time of the final judgment. The change must be sufficient, material, involuntary, and permanent.
Child Support: As with alimony modification, to modify child support, there must be a change in circumstance that is sufficient, as in a huge increase in medical cost due to on-going health issues; material, including lower or higher need; involuntary, as in job loss due to COVID. None of the qualifying circumstances must have been known or anticipated at the time of the final judgment,
Parental Time-Sharing: Of all three types of modification, this one is the most difficult to obtain. The burden to modify time-sharing has been said to be nothing less than extraordinary. In Florida, the motto for the care and nurturing of minor children is that any court-ordered decisions on their behalf must be in the best interest of the child. This means that parents must put their child’s needs first. So, to modify time-sharing, there must be exceptional reasons such as a child’s or parent’s physical or mental health requiring a time-sharing change or a job change requiring a change in the time-sharing arrangements must be made in order to adequately provide monetary support. Time-sharing modification must also be substantial, material, and unanticipated prior to the final judgment.
It is easy to see why it is essential to use an experienced Family Law attorney to handle modification concerns. If you live in Florida in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough County or New York or Washington DC, Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo has practiced over a decade and is well qualified to handle cases for modification of alimony, child support, and time-sharing. He offers a free, in-office consultation to help you understand the standards for modification and to share how he can help. You can call his office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.