Articles Posted in Modification

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.

legislation.jpgFlorida lawmakers like others across the nation are taking the issue of permanent alimony to the legislature. Florida lawmakers are currently considering Bill 549, which would end permanent alimony in the state.

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.”

Permanent means exactly that, PERMANENT. The obligor ex-spouse pays the ordered alimony until such time the obligee ex-spouse remarries, dies or the judgment is otherwise modified.

During 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 the 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 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.

agreement.jpegLet’s say you and your ex divorced several years ago. It was somewhat contentious but the two of you try to maintain some contact because you have children. As part of your divorce, your spouse retained custody of the kids and you have to pay $500 a month in child support. But after a while you got a different job and could no longer afford the $500 a month. You spoke with your ex and she agreed to accept $300 a month instead. You have been paying the $300 a month like clockwork for the past 20 months, but now your ex says you owe her the difference — $4000. Do you have to pay?

Unfortunately, you may have to. You and your wife may have made an oral agreement, but the court might not give that agreement any effect because the only agreement on record is the one that said you pay $500 a month. That oral agreement — though made with the best of intentions — could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

Instead, you should attempt to modify your custody arrangement in court. This can be done, and is easier when your spouse agrees to the change. Speak with a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney to discuss your options.

blah.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney, I am often asked whether a child timesharing order can be modified after a divorce or paternity action in Florida. In short, the answer is yes. Parents can change their timesharing agreement, however, the standard under Florida Law if often difficult to satisfy.

In general, Florida courts require a “substantial change in circumstances” to justify a modification of a child timesharing agreement. A parent asking for the change can show a substantial change in circumstances in several ways. Some examples include a geographic move or a change in lifestyle. If a custodial parent makes a significant move, or a move will seriously disrupt the stability of a child’s life, the move may qualify as a substantial change in circumstance and warrant a modification of the timesharing agreement. Additionally, if substantial changes in a parent’s lifestyle threatens or harms a child, a modification to the timesharing agreement may be granted.

Florida courts further use the “best interests of the child” standard as a guiding principle when making timesharing decisions. This principle often trumps all other factors when making any kind of timesharing decision. A parent wishing to change the residence arrangement under a divorce decree has a heavy burden to satisfy. In these cases, it is essential to retain a knowledgeable Florida Family Law Lawyer.

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