When a divorce is finalized, it can bring a sense of relief to both former spouses. The details have been negotiated, and all that is left is just to start a new chapter as laid out by the divorce agreement. As with anything else, however, change is inevitable, and there are times when the divorce judgment may no longer be appropriate for all those involved, including children. In those cases, it can be possible to change the terms of a divorce with post-judgment modifications.
What Is a Post-Judgment Modification?
A post-judgment modification refers to a permanent action of the court that changes a term of a previous judgment. These modifications can apply to virtually any aspect of a divorce (as well as paternity cases), but they are commonly associated with:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
The burden in these cases is on the ex-spouse seeking the change. He or she must show there is a reason to modify the court's earlier decision. In Florida, the courts require two main elements for a modification to an agreement regarding children. These are:
- A significant and unanticipated change in the situation has occurred since the final judgment in the divorce.
- A modification is in the best interest of the children.
Common Reasons to Seek a Post-Judgment Modification
As life goes on and things change, it's natural to want to seek a change to a divorce or parenting plan agreement. There are many reasons that may prompt a modification. Some of the most common include:
- A former spouse moves out of state.
- A former spouse remarries.
- A former spouse loses a job or begins a new job.
- A child's needs change physically or emotionally.
- A former spouse's health deteriorates through illness or addiction.
Enforcing the Judgment of the Court
Additionally, there are times when one ex-spouse refuses to follow the terms of the judgment. He or she may not pay child support, refuse to sign over property, or ignore rules of visitation. In those frustrating cases, the court can compel the ex-spouse to comply. It may, however, require a return to court to identify the issues and prompt the change.
Speak with me today
If you have experienced a change in your marital settlement agreement or paternity agreement and you want to modify your legal judgment (or enforce it), I may be able to help. Call me today for a free, no-obligation phone consultation.