Tampa Modification & Enforcement of Final Judgments Lawyer
Before a court will finalize a divorce, couples with children must have a plan in place that takes into account child support, parenting time, and spousal maintenance arrangements. Some couples are able to come up with their own arrangements through out-of-court settlement negotiations, while others will have a plan created for them by a judge. In either case, these parenting plans are written to apply to the family’s current situation, so it is not uncommon for a family to seek modification of the agreement when the children are older.
Fortunately, Florida law recognizes that as time goes on and children grow up, their needs change, and so permit parents to modify these orders. However, courts are only willing to approve these changes if a petitioner can prove that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred and that the modification is in the child’s best interests. This can be a difficult standard to fulfill, so if you believe that your child support or time sharing arrangement is out of date, it is important to consult with an experienced Tampa modification & enforcement lawyer who can walk you through the modification process.
What Qualifies as a Substantial Change in Circumstances?
Florida family courts are only willing to modify a child support or time sharing agreement if at least one of the parents can prove that he or she has experienced a significant change in circumstances. Although whether a person’s circumstances qualify as substantial is decided on a case by cases basis, courts have generally approved modification when:
- One of the parties is suffering from health-related problems that make it impossible to pay spousal maintenance or child support in the agreed upon amount;
- One of the parties becomes unemployed or retires and is unable to pay child support at the current rate;
- One of the parties remarries or has another child;
- One of the parties must relocate for employment purposes; or
- One of the parties experiences a significant increase in income as a result of a promotion or the receipt of an inheritance.
In addition to demonstrating that one of these situations exists, the parent seeking modification must also provide evidence proving that the life change could not have been anticipated when the original order was issued by the court. When these elements are fulfilled, courts are permitted to modify an existing order, although they can still refuse to do so if they believe that making the change would not be in the child’s best interests. If a parent refuses to comply with the modified court order, he or she can be held in contempt, which could result in a fine and jail time. However, in these cases, it is much more likely that a court will garnish the parent’s wages if he or she was failing to pay child support, or to order supervised visitation if the conflict involved parenting time.
Contact Our Legal Team Today
To speak with an experienced modification and enforcement lawyer about changing or enforcing your own child support or time sharing agreement, please don’t hesitate to call The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group at 813-803-6518. We are available to address your questions or concerns 24 hours a day, seven days a week.