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Is the Court Order in My Family Law Case Final?

In Florida, like every other state, before a divorce can be finalized, custodial and financial details must be resolved. Reaching a resolution can be challenging for many couples because it can be difficult to compromise child custody and support issues. Even financial issues like spousal support can derail the progress of an otherwise simple divorce. Once a settlement agreement has been reached and entered into the court record, that document becomes the legal guidelines governing a couple’s divorce. Court orders govern a divorce much like a legal code would govern a city or town. These orders are enforceable and will be upheld by the legal system without hesitancy. That sounds final, right? Well, in many ways, it is final – unless you have mitigating reasons to request a modification of your court order.

Who Can Request Modifications to a Court Order?

Modifying court orders is not a complex process. Whether you can modify your court order is based on the reasonability of your request. The legal system understands that life is not static, so accommodations can be made when life presents challenges that require a change of course.

The most modified court orders are:

  • Child support orders
  • Spousal support orders
  • Child Custody and parenting plans

What Are the Extenuating Circumstances that Would Grant a Modification?

Depending on the details of your case, you can file for a modification to your court order by outlining the extenuating circumstances that have caused a change to your lifestyle, income, or ability to meet the requirements of the order. While the process to request a modification isn’t particularly complicated, it is a detailed legal procedure that a qualified legal representative should handle. When reading the court request asking for the details of your extenuating circumstance and why it warrants a modification to a standing court order, it’s easy to become intimidated by the process.

However, many common circumstances warrant a modification, for example:

  • Change of Employment: If a parent finds a better job in a different area too far from the residential area of their child, it could make custodial arrangements unfeasible. This situation would qualify as a justifiable reason to ask for a change to the court order.
  • Dereliction of Parental Responsibilities: Co-parenting is a joint responsibility. If one parent isn’t meeting their parental responsibilities, the other parent can request a modification and request changes to the custodial agreement or parenting plan.
  • Loss in / Increased Income: Changing jobs can go either way, and you can’t simply choose to decrease your income willingly and request a modification. The request should be the result of unanticipated income loss. Conversely, if a parent receives a significant pay increase or windfall of income, their co-parent can petition the court for a child support increase.
  • Cost of Living Increases: Fees and increases to childcare and associated expenses could rise to the level of an extenuating circumstance. Childcare, medical, dental costs, and other fees and expenses that are included in the costs of raising a child could rise to the level of a mitigating factor warranting a modification. In our current economic climate, inflation has increased the cost of many basic needs, so if those costs remain elevated, the receiving parent could petition the court to modify their court order.
  • Changing Family Dynamics: If the payer parent remarries and adds children to their household, they could petition the court for a modification to reduce the amount of child support payments. The request would be to align the payments to free up resources for the new child.

Empathetic and Compassionate Representation

It’s important to address important financial issues immediately to file manageable support payments that don’t create an undue burden. Beatriz Zyne, P.A., can help you with court order modification. Call us now at (305) 876-6138 to schedule a consultation.