Modification means to change or alter, in this case, the terms of a final decree regarding child support and timesharing. Post-judgment refers to a time following final judgment of a dissolution of marriage and the signing of the dissolution decree by a judge. Terms of the final decree are decided during a mediation, required in Florida before a court date can be set, or decided by a judge following a formal courtroom hearing. Either way, child support and timesharing (formerly know as joint custody and visitation rights) can be modified. It is important to know that in Florida law, when determining outcomes of child support and timesharing the future availability of legal modification cannot be waived. However, modification cannot take place until a substantial, material, and unanticipated change involving the children’s needs, the number of overnights, or the parent’s financial situation, can be proved.
Given the right set of significantly changed circumstances, modifying, that is changing the dollar amount of child support or particulars of health insurance is always possible in Florida. No one knows the future and particularly where children are concerned, Florida has continually up-dated their guidelines and laws to hopefully ensure outcomes that are in the best interest of the children who, by no fault of their own, no longer have their intact family due to divorce. As time goes on many changes can take place necessitating the need for an adjustment of child support and/or health insurance. Some of these changes may include, but are not limited to:
If a third party, such as a legal guardian, was included in the original final judgment their circumstances can also be considered.
Once you are sure you have substantial proof your child support payment should be changed, either up or down, the procedure to modify child support will be very similar to your divorce litigation. Please see Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage for an in depth overview of the divorce process. You will need to file a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support, which will be served to your former spouse who then has 20 days to reply. Both parties will need to reveal in depth financial information to each other. The filing party will need to show substantial proof for needed modification.
Once financials and subsequent proof are completed most jurisdictions will require mediation before setting a court date. If matters cannot be settled at mediation your case will go before a judge. Sometimes this judge will be titled a Magistrate or Hearing Officer, a different judge from the one who signed off on your divorce. The decision rendered will be in the best interest of the child/children.
Throughout the difficult child support modification process you will need a qualified Family Law attorney. Attorney Gisondo states in his guiding principles “I will fight your fight as if it were my own”. Mr Gisondo’s practice is in West Palm Beach and serves Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, and Hillsborough counties. Call his office at (561) 530-4568 to schedule an appointment for a free, in office, initial, in person consultation.
Formally known as child custody and visitation rights, timesharing is the amount of time each parent can spend with their child/children, when and where this time will be spent, number of overnights with each parent and how decisions for education, medical, religious, and discipline will be made. Decisions made at the time of final judgment are often no longer appropriate as children age and circumstances of parents change significantly. Some of the reasons to modify timesharing include, but are not limited to:
There is a “when to use” portion of the instructions for filling out the form to be filed asking for modification of timesharing which outlines the meaning of substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances allowed in seeking this modification. It is wise to have a well-qualified Family Law attorney who knows all the legally acceptable reasons as well as will be able to walk you through the whole litigation process for timesharing modification. Attorney Grant Gisondo whose practice is in West Palm Beach and serves Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, and Hillsborough counties will work with you in these matters.
Once the basics of need for timesharing modification are met the form 12,905 (a) Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form must be filled out, notarized, and filed with the court. A copy must be served to the other parent who then has 20 days to answer. If both parties agree the request to modify is uncontested and when the mandatory disclosure by both parties is filed a final hearing can be set. Both parties must be notified of he date and time.
When parties disagree, the process then becomes contested and is similar to a divorce. Please see Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage for an in depth overview of the divorce process. Evidence and proof will be collected of the need for timesharing modification as well as why the desired changes will be beneficial to the child/children. Both parties require a mandatory disclosure as well. Some jurisdictions will require mediation before setting a trial date at which time a judge will hear and review evidence, proof, and requests and make a decision based primarily on the 20 guidelines for timesharing. Please see Parental Timesharing to learn more about these guidelines.
As you can see, there are a great many considerations both personal and legal when hoping to modify timesharing. A Family Law attorney with the necessary qualification to help you do so is Attorney Gisondo. He will be glad to answer your questions and guide you through the entire modification process. His goal is, as he puts it in his mission statement “We are a guiding light through even the darkest of situations which result in solutions” You can call his office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment for a free, in-office, initial, in-person consultation.