Life has a way of changing quickly, and one unexpected life change can prompt multiple others. For someone going through a divorce, it’s possible for the effects of the dissolution of their marriage to ripple out and impact numerous other aspects of their life, such as where they live and the job they have.
Agreements or terms that were reasonable a few months ago may no longer be appropriate when your living situation or finances change one way or the other. The Florida family courts do recognize how life circumstances and family needs shift over time. They may agree to modify and existing child support or custody order provided that there is adequate reason for one party to request such a change.
The Florida courts expect to see a substantial change in circumstances
Not every request for a modification will receive approval from the courts. Generally, the person requesting a modification should be able to demonstrate a substantial change in the family’s circumstances.
What exactly constitutes a substantial change has been the subject of much confusion and litigation in Florida. Just getting a promotion to a different job may not be a substantial change, but moving to a safer neighborhood might be.
Proof that your income has increased or decreased by a significant amount could be an adequate reason to adjust child support, while a drastic change to your schedule, such as moving from third shift to first shift, might provide grounds for requesting more parenting time. The same is true of documented efforts to address parental shortcomings, like addiction or behavioral issues that lead to an unequal custody outcome.
Seeking a modification can help update your divorce orders
When your family circumstances change, you need the solutions the courts have put in place for you to change as well. Although some people simply attempt to negotiate new arrangements with their ex, making a formal change through a modification will protect you from losing those newly negotiated rights if you and your ex have a falling out.
Additionally, in cases of a parent seeking substantially more time with the kids, a custody modification could even mean paying less child support, which is another reason why having a formal review of your circumstances could benefit you.