In our experience, modifications typically involve changes in financial circumstances rather than timesharing with minor children. Financial changes are easier to prove and can result in an increase or decrease of child support. Modifications to timesharing schedules are possible, but they are very hard to change because you must be able to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances has occurred in order to prevail. A substantial change in circumstances is more difficult to prove and there are very few circumstances that actually qualify as “substantial” from a legal perspective. What a layperson considers “substantial” is often different than what the law or a court would consider “substantial.”
Some people try to file petitions for modification after they have already relocated with a minor child, but the court must approve the relocation prior to the actual move if the parent wants to move further than 50 miles away. The court will consider what is in the best interest of the minor child. If the child has lived somewhere all of his or her life and has lots of friends and support from relatives in the area, the court will take that into consideration. When a minor child is involved, relocation ultimately comes down to what is in that child’s best interest and the court is going to have to approve it first.
If There Is A Change In Parenting Time Or A Relocation, Does Child Support Automatically Get Adjusted?
Unfortunately, nothing is ever automatic unless it’s written in the court’s final judgment. If both parents can agree to informal or minor modifications to daily or weekly timesharing schedules, they can make them without the court’s intervention. If the parties cannot agree, however, the court ordered arrangement is the default schedule they must follow. Only the court can adjust child support.
Is It Also True In Florida That A Judge Or Court Is Going To Be More Hesitant Or Less Likely To Approve A Parenting Time Or Custody Change In The First Year Of A Divorce?
Many judges are suspicious of requests for significant changes in the first year following a divorce, but it depends on the individual judge.
What About Changes To Alimony Or Spousal Support? Does The Same Kind Of Standard Apply When It Comes To A Downward Or Upward Shift To That Support?
In order to obtain any type of modification to an award of spousal support (“alimony”), whether up or down, you must be able to establish that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. You must support any request for modification with information regarding your income. If you voluntarily quit your high paying job because you don’t want to pay spousal support, the request likely won’t turn out well for you. The court can impute income to you, which means the court can consider your prior income rather than what you currently earn. The court may even label you as “voluntarily underemployed.” People need to consider that possibility and not attempt to create a “substantial change in circumstances” based solely on a desire to provide less support to the other party.
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