Florida Post-Divorce Modification Actions
For parents who share minor children, disputes may continue long after their divorce becomes final. Court orders with respect to children, such as child support and timesharing plans, can change periodically until the children become adults. In some cases, parents are able to work out changes about their children on their own, but, in other cases, court intervention may be necessary in order to resolve these issues.
Modifying Timesharing or Parenting Plans
As children grow older, work and school schedules change, and children become involved in more athletic and social activities, parental timesharing necessary must change, as well. When one parent wants to change the currently ordered timesharing schedule, he or she can file a petition for modification with the court, with or without the agreement of the other parent. In order to justify a change in the existing timesharing order, the parent must prove to the court that there has been a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances, and that the proposed modification would be in the best interest of the child. If you and your child’s other parent are unable to come to an agreement about modifying the timesharing order, the judge will make that decision for you, sometimes with the help of a neutral third party, such as a guardian ad litem, to make a parenting plan recommendation. Even if you and your child’s other parent have come to an agreement about changing your timesharing order, the judge must approve it in order for it to become effective, and he or she can change your agreement based on the best interest of the child.
Modifying Child Support Orders
Like timesharing arrangements, child support orders can change over time, as the child’s needs change and parents’ financial situations change. If there has been a substantial change in circumstances with respect to the child or either parent since the time of the last support order, a parent can petition the court to modify the existing support order. Child support orders can change periodically until the child reaches the age of emancipation. Some common examples of substantial changes in circumstances that might necessitate a change in the child support order are as follows:
- A parent’s job loss, job change, or promotion
- An increase in the health care needs or medical insurance premiums of the child
- A change in childcare expenses that a parent must pay
- A change in the frequency of the overnights that a parent spends with the child
These are only a few examples of situations that might justify modification of the parties’ existing child support order. All child support orders as modified also must follow the child support guidelines set forth under Florida law.
Your Florida Divorce Lawyer is Here to Assist You with Your Legal Needs
At Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, we know the importance of modifying timesharing and child support orders as various factors relating to the parents and child change. Meet with your Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney today, and learn how we can help you modify any of your court orders based on a substantial change in circumstances.