Once you finalized your divorce, you thought you would never have to face your ex in court again. You could exhale and relax, having freed yourself from a toxic environment. But since then, circumstances have changed – for you, your ex-spouse, or your children – and the divorce decree you signed months, years or even decades ago no longer applies to your situation.
If you are wondering whether it is possible to modify a divorce decree, the answer is “Yes, in some cases.” However, don’t try to modify your divorce decree on your own: there’s too much at stake. Below, our experienced attorneys at Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm describe the basics of post-divorce modification.
Can Anything in the Original Divorce Decree Be Modified?
Florida Statutes allow one or both spouses to request a post-divorce modification for:
- Alimony. Either you are receiving alimony and want to increase the amount, or you are paying alimony and want to change the amount.
- Child support. Like alimony, you either want to increase or change the amount.
- Child custody. New circumstances in one or both parents’ lives, or the children’s lives, warrant an adjustment in the custody arrangements.
- Time-sharing (child visitation). One or both parents want to alter the visitation schedule.
Note that assets and debts settled in the divorce cannot be modified with the exception of some circumstances, mainly related to fraud.
Typical Events That Qualify for Post-Divorce Revisions
Some of the reasons you may wish to modify a divorce decree include the following:
- Job change (new job, loss of employment, or retirement)
- Relocation within Florida or out of state
- Disability or critical illness of a parent
- Remarriage or cohabitation of an ex-spouse
- Substance abuse/addictions
- Change in child’s age or health
- Relocation of a child with the custodial parent within Florida or out of state
There may be other reasons why you believe a modification is needed. A post-divorce modification attorney can tell you what is and isn’t legally permitted.
The Most Common Situations for a Post-Divorce Modification
Alimony and matters involving children are the top concerns for ex-spouses to seek adjustments to their divorce decree. Let’s briefly explore both topics.
- You have been paying alimony, but your ex-spouse has recently remarried. You want to modify the divorce decree so that your alimony payment will be terminated in accordance with Florida law.
- You have been paying alimony but were in an automobile accident and, subsequently, lost your job due to a long recovery time. You want to amend the divorce decree to reflect your inability to provide alimony.
- You are receiving alimony, but inflation makes it difficult to cover household expenses. You wish to seek a post-divorce modification to increase your alimony payment.
Children’s well-being examples
- You have custody of your children, but your employer is transferring you out of state. You need to negotiate with your ex-spouse on where the children will live and create a new timesharing schedule.
- You receive child support, and your child has suffered a serious medical issue that will incur long-term medical fees. You and your ex-spouse need to agree to a new child support plan that involves increased child support and/or assistance from government agencies.
- You want to change the time-sharing schedule because your ex has substance abuse problems, and you do not want your children exposed to that situation.
These examples are incomplete and may not reflect your situation. Speak to an experienced post-modification divorce attorney who can advise you on whether or not the court will review your circumstances.
How Does the Process Work?
Our attorneys at Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm are certified mediators and prefer to seek mediation first. This means our team will reach out to your ex’s attorney to request a modification of the divorce decree. If both parties agree to the new terms, we will file the post-divorce decree with the court.
However, if your ex rejects your request in mediation, the case moves to the court for a judge to adjudicate. Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm will take your evidence and fight vigorously for you in court. In addition to our knowledge base, we may rely on our connections with tax experts, estate planning professionals, forensic accountants, government agencies, or medical specialists to help support your case.
To Modify Your Divorce Decree, Contact Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm
Because your divorce decree is a legal document, it is wise to have knowledgeable attorneys handle the intricacies of a post-divorce adjustment. With more than 60 years of combined experience, our attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of clients in post-divorce modification cases. Call (954) 447-2580 or complete our online form today to schedule a strategy session. Our staff is bilingual in English and Spanish, and we serve Broward County and Miami-Dade County from our offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, and Sunny Isles Beach.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.