When a judge issues a final order of divorce in Florida, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the provisions of the various agreements in the divorce—such as time-sharing (custody), child support, or spousal support (alimony)—must remain the same for eternity. Because family situations change as children get older or they or their parents acquire special needs, the documents that are in place to serve the family’s best interests can also change. If your circumstances have changed since your divorce, it might be time for a Miami post-judgment modification.
A post-judgment modification occurs when a party named in a judgment seeks to permanently change the court’s final orders on the matter to reflect a material change in circumstances. These modifications pertain to the custody and support agreements that were put in place during the final divorce decree.
As mentioned, the ever-changing needs of a family through the years can result in the need to modify certain orders pertaining to a divorce. The type of changing circumstances that can result in a post-judgment modification include:
The types of court documents that can be subject to post-judgment modifications include:
Like lump-sum alimony payments, other types of court orders pertaining to assets that were dispensed at the time of the initial court decree can only be modified if it can be shown that one party obtained those assets fraudulently.
If you and the other party in the agreement both agree to the modification, the process can generally be handled without both parties having to appear in court. However, a judge will need to see and approve the change in order for it to be legally enforceable.
If it has been less than three years since the child support order was put in place, Florida requires those requesting a post-judgment child support modification to show a significant change in their financial circumstances that would result in a difference of at least 15 percent of the amount of the payments owed. After three years, the petitioner must only show that the circumstances would result in a difference of at least 10 percent—or $25—of the ordered amount.
You must also be able to show that this change in circumstances is permanent by proving that the change has lasted for at least six months. You must also show that the change was involuntary, meaning it came from circumstances beyond the petitioner’s control—such as the petitioner suffered an extended illness or they were laid off from their job. Quitting a job or taking a lower-paying job are considered to be voluntary actions.
Alimony orders are modifiable in many circumstances, depending on the type of alimony that is received and whether the parties agreed to make the alimony modifiable or nonmodifiable. Permanent alimony is awarded for the lifetime of the recipient. However, the amount of the payments may be able to be modified to reflect changes in the parties’ financial circumstances.
Bridge-to-gap alimony is a temporary type of alimony intended to assist one party in transitioning from their financial situation when they were married to being single. The amount of this type of alimony is generally not modifiable, but a recipient can request a modification in the duration of the order if they have not yet been able to make the transition when the period of collection expires.
Lump-sum alimony payments are sometimes ordered and provide one party with a sum of money upfront to help with their expenses. This type of alimony is generally not modifiable.