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Once a Final Judgment is entered by the court, some situations may require a modification of that prior court order. The most common two aspects of the Final Judgment that someone may seek to modify are the child support and/or alimony calculations, as well as the Parenting Plan.

In order for a Final Judgment to be modified, one must prove to the court that a “substantial change in circumstances” has occurred. It is important to note that not every single change that has occurred since the Final Judgment was entered will amount to a “substantial change in circumstances.”

There are multiple aspects of child support calculations that could lead to a modification. One of the most common is a change in income for either parent or both parents. If one parent is making significantly more than when the child support order was entered, that could constitute a substantial change in circumstances. Similarly, if one parent is making significantly less than when the child support order was entered, that could also be a substantial change in circumstances. Another common reason to modify a child support order is a change in the amount of time-sharing the parties are actually exercising, compared to what was used to calculate child support initially. If the parties’ child support was calculated when they were supposed to be exercising equal time-sharing but two years later they are now doing time-sharing that is 75 percent to one parent, that could present a substantial change in circumstances to modify child support.

Parenting Plans may be modified for multiple reasons as well. Similar to child support, if the Parenting Plan no longer accurately reflects the time-sharing being exercised, it should be modified to do so. Additionally, sometimes one parent will move far enough away, while staying in the area, to make the current time-sharing schedule difficult or impossible to implement. When modifying a Parenting Plan, the court will always have to determine what is in the best interests of the child.

And finally, it is not uncommon for individuals to seek to modify an alimony order. This also requires the showing of a “substantial change in circumstances.” Substantial changes in circumstances for alimony modifications or terminations include most commonly changes in incomes, remarriage, or the existence of a supportive relationship.

There are also instances when one party is not following a prior court order, such as failure to pay support, failure to abide by provisions in the Parenting Plan, etc. In these instances, individuals may seek to enforce their prior court order. This can be a time-consuming and costly endeavor and should only be utilized when all other options have been exhausted.

At Artemis Family Law Group, we are very experienced with modifications and enforcements of prior court orders. Whether you are seeking to bring or defend against a modification/enforcement action, please contact our office to learn more about your options and best path forward. Click here to schedule a consultation at your convenience.

Frequently asked Questions

Yes. Child support is always modifiable in Florida so long as the change in support would be at least $50 or 15 percent of the current child support amount—whichever is greater. It is important to make sure that the new amount of child support meets this threshold criteria.

It depends, but proceed with caution. The court will not order alimony to be non-modifiable, but the parties can agree to that in a settlement agreement. It is important to make the language as clear as possible in the written agreement—is the non-modification language addressing the amount of alimony, the duration of alimony, or both? Does the non-modification language also include remarriage or the existence of a supportive relationship? The court will typically enforce the terms of a contract that two parties sign, which includes a marital settlement agreement, even if it later seems unfair or like a bad deal in hindsight. Before agreeing to the inclusion of non-modification of alimony language in a settlement agreement, it is crucial that you consult with an attorney to fully understand the consequences.

No. Even if the parties agree in a settlement agreement that child support is non-modifiable, the court will modify child support upon the showing of a substantial change in circumstances like normal, regardless of the modification language. Child support is for the benefit of the child and thus modification of it cannot be waived by a parent.

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