What is a Post-Judgment Modification in Florida
To modify, according to dictionaylaw.com, is “a change in an existing court order or judgment made necessary by a change in circumstances since the order or judgment was made or to cure an error.” In Florida, post-judgment modifications can be made to alimony, child support, parental timesharing, and the parenting plan. No changes to an existing order or judgment can be made by the parties themselves but only through mediation or by a judge. In all cases where a post-judgment is requested, there must be proof of material, substantial, and unanticipated (before final judgment) change. Different modification needs can determine how these three requirements are met, but essentially, they translate to:
Material: There must be a tangible value, usually dollars (parenting plan modification and parental timesharing modification could be an exception) that needs to be modified. For example, a parent or former spouse now has a higher or decreased income, has become terminally ill or has life-changing physical or mental problems, a child becomes chronically ill, a party wins the lottery, or a residence has changed, making the present timesharing judgment impossible.
Substantial: the number of material changes in dollars or the extensiveness of change such as health issues must be significant. For example, receiving an increase in pay of $2.00 an hour would not be substantial, but a promotion to receiving a salary that would translate out to $10.00 an hour would be. Another example would be a party is in a car accident and is permanently injured which will affect their job skills and thus their earnings.
Unanticipated before the judgment in question: the request for modification must center on reasons unknown before the final judgment. An example is an accident affecting a party’s ability to earn a living or, in the case of a child, their medical expenses skyrocketing. However, for example, if a party knew they were to be promoted before the final judgment and did not disclose this information, the other party, with poof, could return to court to cure an error.
Once your claim for modification has met all three of the above requirements, you can file for a modification. For alimony, you will file in the county where the divorce took place and use a petition to file called Supplemental Petition for Modification. For child support and other matters concerning the care and nurturing of minor children, you must file a Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Support (parenting plan, parental timesharing).
In most jurisdictions in Florida, mediation of your case will be required before a court date can be set. If possible, it is wise to settle in mediation as your decision will be much faster—most Family Courts in Florida are backed up by at least six months. Additionally, the cost is less than court and ongoing attorney fees, you get to decide your outcome, and the public will not have access to your case records.
While it is possible to file a modification without an attorney, it is not wise. There are so many twists and turns to be granted a modification; it usually takes professionals to make sure your case contains all the necessary prerequisites and to know how to get the best results. If you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, or Orange County in Florida, New York, or Washington DC, Grant Gisondo is a Board Certified Marital and Family Attorney practicing in your areas. He has over a decade of successful practice and offers a free, initial, in-office consultation to share how he can help. At this time, he can answer general questions regarding your concerns, for example, the steps to a Florida divorce (dissolution of marriage), how child support works, or how and when to file for modification. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and for new clients on Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. If you have questions or to make an appointment, please call (561) 530-4568. To learn more about Attorney Gisondo’s practice, visit his website https://gisondolaw.com