Divorce decrees are meant to last, but sometimes circumstances change. If modification of your divorce decree or settlement is necessary, contact Fort Lauderdale post judgment modification lawyer Serena Carroll today.
A divorce order ends a marriage, and this cannot be changed. But while divorce ends the marriage, there is often a remaining connection between the two former spouses. Many divorces result in payment of alimony, child support, and result in a parenting plan that addresses time-sharing and child custody. As the circumstances of life change, sometimes these arrangements also need to change.
Sometimes the spouses are able to agree on the modification, which the court will generally approve, although where the interests of the children are involved, the court will thoroughly review any proposed change. Where the spouses are not able to agree on a modification, the spouse seeking the change in obligations has the burden of showing the court that circumstances have substantially changed in a way that warrants the requested modification.
In the case of alimony, there are numerous grounds for modification. Where the spouse receiving alimony remarries or cohabitates with another, the other spouse’s obligation to pay alimony ends. Where the paying spouse loses his or her job or suffers serious injury that limits the ability to work, this also constitutes grounds for modification. Other types of alimony, such as durational and rehabilitative alimony, are designed to last for a limited time. Changes based on choices made by the paying spouse, such as quitting his or her job, are not the type of change that merits modification of spousal support obligations.
Similar considerations apply to modification of child support. Severe financial hardship to the spouse paying child support can create grounds to modify the support obligation, although it will not eliminate the duty to pay child support. Where a child’s financial needs change – such as incurring unforeseen medical expenses or where tuition rises dramatically – an increase in child support may be appropriate. Modifications can be temporary based on temporary changed circumstances. It is always a good idea to seek modification before falling behind in child support payments.
Child custody modifications are governed by different principles, and often involve the relocation of one of the spouses. Where one spouse moves – especially the spouse with primary custody – the parenting plan and time-sharing schedules change accordingly. The spouse seeking to move must provide notice to the other spouse of the intent to relocate. Where the parent with primary responsibility seeks to move, the court will consider a variety of factors to determine whether the move is in the child’s best interests.
Modification of divorce decrees is difficult, but not impossible. The law recognizes that circumstances do change, sometimes meriting modification, but the law also seeks to guard the rights of all parties to the divorce. Fort Lauderdale post judgment modification attorney Serena Carroll has helped many clients successfully modify their divorce order to deal with changed circumstances. Ms. Carroll will personally consult with you to determine your needs and the nature of the changes at issue, and will help you achieve a modification that suits your situation. Call her offices today at (954) 525-2050.