Articles Posted in Modification

Changing Venue: Moving  Family Law Cases

One question we often receive from our family law clients is if they can change courts, also known as venue, when they move to a new area in Florida from the court where the marriage dissolution proceedings originally occurred to a more nearby court.

venue changeThe short answer to this question is yes. In family law, the courts in Florida always try to act in “best interests of the child.” This standard will be explained further in this article, but first lets explain exactly how the change in venue process would potentially work.

Before a spouse can change venue, it is important to understand where a family law proceeding can actually be brought. According to the Florida Statute 61.13, a family law case may be brought in “the circuit court in the county in which either parent and the child reside or the circuit court in which the original order approving or creating the parenting plan was entered…” This usually means that venue will start in the court where the divorce was filed, and stay in this court for all related matters such as equitable distribution, alimony, parenting responsibility, child support, and all modifications.

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498955_holding_moneyAlimony Reduction and Termination: Alimony is often one of the most contested issues in divorce cases.  For many people, the idea of paying money to financially support an ex-spouse is a disgusting idea.  When the love and reverence turns to hate and disdain, making alimony payments to the ex-spouse is painful.  The pain is only magnified by a judge’s ruling that the payments are to be permanent.  An award of permanent alimony normally stays in place until the re-marriage of the recipient or the death of one of the parties.  However, under some circumstances, modification or termination of permanent alimony payments can be accomplished.

Florida Statute 61.14 authorizes the circuit court to reconsider alimony when the parties’ circumstances or financial ability change.  Courts interpret this by requiring three things: (1) a substantial change in circumstances; (2) the change was not anticipated at the time of the final judgment; and (3) the change is sufficient, material, permanent, and involuntary.  Applying this test, alimony can be either decreased or increased.

Florida courts have deemed that a former wife’s increased living expenses related to her condominium were enough to justify an increase in alimony.  It has also been determined that a former husband who voluntarily retires after reaching retirement age and has less income as a result should have that fact considered when the former husband asks for a reduction in alimony payments.  For more information, or for a free initial consultation regarding the specific facts in your case, call the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC at (904) 685-1200.  Our experienced Jacksonville alimony lawyers and divorce lawyers can help you or a loved one work toward the best outcome in your case.

Facebook is a good resource to communicate with old friends. Some people find it useful for such odd things as improving your heart rate or landing a job by networking. But one thing using Facebook may hurt is your chances of getting a fair hearing if you are going through a Florida Divorce or a Child Custody proceeding.

Facebook based circumstantial evidence has been used by 81percent of its members according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

You are probably thinking that you set your facebook account’s privacy settings high and you’ve blocked your ex, so they can’t see damaging information. But that does not stop your “friends” from forwarding damaging information.

In family law, there are several remedies at the court’s discretion that comprise the toolbox of Family Law. One of these tools is the Child Support Lien.

A “lien” is a recorded claim against property such as real estate. This property can be seized or sold to satisfy and discharge the lien. This process, in the child support context, is just like a foreclosure.

If a parent of your children owes back child support and has no income, the family law court may decide to investigate any real property he owns. The Court would then place a lien on that property which would be recorded in the Office of the Clerk of Court in the county where the property is located. The child support lien, once it has been recorded, is just like a mortgage on a house. In a traditional foreclosure, if a homeowner falls behind on house payments, the bank can, after meeting certain procedural requirements, foreclose on the house. By filing a child support lien, the parent filing the lien is in effect stepping into shoes just like the bank. You can foreclose after meeting procedural requirements.

Florida courts will consider modification of a child custody order only if the parent requesting the custody modification is able to prove a substantial change in circumstances. Under Florida law, a “substantial change in circumstances” means a substantial, permanent and involuntary material change. In other words, the change cannot be temporary, it cannot be caused by something the parent voluntarily did and the change must be big enough to warrant the court changing the original parenting plan or custody agreement.

Only after the court has been satisfied that the change in circumstances is substantial, will it then move on to consider what is in the best interest of the child. The reason for this is to prevent constant back and forth motions to change custody which would be destabilizing for the children. It also helps prevent the court from becoming overburdened with frequent and repetitive modification requests.

Parent relocation is one of the most common grounds for seeking a change in custody. The modification request may be submitted by a relocating parent who wants to take the child with them, or a parent opposing relocation who wants the child be placed with them. Some courts switch custody from one parent to the other, although the increasingly common approach is to ask the parents to work out a plan under which both parents may continue to have significant contacts with their children.

dom agreement.jpgRecently, I have had several clients ask, in their consultation, whether signed and executed Marital Settlement Agreements and Parenting Plans can be modified or set aside. In typical divorce proceedings and under normal circumstances the answer to that question is going to be no. Generally, one party does not have the right to revoke a valid divorce agreement merely because they realize it is a bad deal after they have already signed it.

Under Florida law, once a divorce agreement is signed, the parties must abide by the terms of the agreement absent a showing of “substantial change of circumstances” or other defenses to contract formation such as fraud or duress in the execution of the contract. In most instances the best course of action is to have a Mandarin Divorce Lawyer review any divorce agreement before you sign it to ensure that you are not signing something that is not in your best interests.

If you are considering a Manadrin Divorce, contact a Mandarin Divorce Lawyer today to review any divorce documents you may encounter. It is important to remember not to sign anything without first consulting with a Mandarin Divorce Lawyer as, absent a substantial change in circumstances, any signed and executed agreement cannot be changed.

kids.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney, I am often asked whether a child timesharing order can be modified after a divorce. In short, yes, parents can change their timesharing agreement. However, if the parents do not agree about the modification, the standard under Florida Law is often difficult to satisfy.

After a final decree establishing timesharing is filed with a Jacksonville court, parents may later agree to modify its terms. Although not required, it is advisable to obtain the court’s approval for the modification so that it may later be enforceable it needed. Generally, Jacksonville courts approve modification agreements unless it appears the modification is not in the best interests of the child.

If a parent wants to change an existing timesharing agreement and the other parent will not agree to the change, he or she must petition the court to modify it. Generally, a Jacksonville court will allow a modification if the parent asking for the change can show that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” Some examples include a geographic move or a change in lifestyle.

court.jpgDuring a Jacksonville divorce, many facets of a couple’s life are controlled by an order of the court. Things like time-sharing for the kids, alimony for a spouse, and distribution of assets. Something a Jacksonville Court cannot control is the way a father chooses to live his life, even if he is making choices that sacrifice the life of you and your child after the divorce is finalized. Take the following as an example.

Wife gets pregnant and shortly after goes through a dissolution of marriage with her husband. Wife has been raising her child for the last 2 years with her child’s father paying support. Lately, husband has been missing his payments and is about $5,000 behind in child support payments. He has been out of rehab and spent some time in jail, for which he also lost his job. Since that is the case, husband is petitioning the court to lower or reduce the amount of child support he owes.

A situation like this raises a few questions: will the court not enforce the arrearages of $5,000 because he can’t pay? The answer most likely not. A Jacksonville Court will not usually reduce past due support payments unless the husband is able to show he is entitled to a reduction for a compelling reason, such as lack of capacity to enter the marital settlement agreement, which prevented him from filing a motion prior to the support payments due date.

dollarsign.jpgFloridaToday.com has recently posted an article titled, “Times have changed, so should alimony.”

The article tackles the issue of permanent alimony in Florida and its, often considered, archaic reasoning.

Currently, Florida Statute 61.08 reads, “Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage.”

empty pockets.jpgAs a Jacksonville Child Support Lawyer I consistently work with clients who are working to get their ordered child support modified. The first thing I tell these clients is, in order to have their child support award or obligation modified there must be a substantial and material change in circumstances since the child support amount was ordered.

What constitutes a substantial and material change in circumstances can range from losing or changing jobs to children leaving the home. Under theses circumstances either party can file with the court a Supplemental Petition to Modify.

However, increases in child support are generally retroactive only to the date of filing and reductions in child support are usually effective only from the date the court actually signs the order.

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