Families are comprised of individuals who are prone to change, new circumstances, and new needs. Because our legal system recognizes that families must adapt to these situations, Florida law allows individuals to seek modifications of court orders reached during divorce or other family law proceedings. Although the law allows for such modifications, they are never guaranteed, nor an option for everyone.
In order to obtain a post-judgment family law modification, one or both parties must meet certain requirements, and clearly present their reasons for why new terms should be implemented. While modifications can be made for various reasons, they typically involve court orders related to:
Whether a divorce settlement or current family law order was amicably agreed upon or imposed by a court, parties seeking modification must show a “substantial change” in circumstances since the final judgment was issued. Although “substantial change” is not explicitly defined by statutory law, there are a number of reasons why people seek modifications. These include:
- Relocation of one parent (i.e. a substantial distance between parents which inhibits custody and parenting time / visitation orders)
- A custodial parent has re-married or is living with a another person
- Conditions that affect a child’s well-being (including substance abuse, domestic violence, unsafe living conditions or cohabitants, etc.)
- A child has grown from the time of the original order / has the ability to voice their preference
- A custodial parent has failed to provide for the child’s needs (physical, emotional, etc.)
- Injury or physical / mental conditions that prevent a spouse or parent from meeting court-ordered obligations
- Changes in income, including job loss
- The needs of a child have changed
Our legal team can assist you with determining whether you situation may constitute a substantial change in circumstances, and help you navigate procedural rules or hostility and disputes raised by an ex-spouse.
A Child’s Best Interests
In addition to illustrating a substantial change in circumstances, courts handling modifications involving children – such as custody, parenting time, and child support orders – will also give considerable attention to the best interests of children. This entails a number of factors, including:
- A child’s age and preference
- A child’s current living arrangements, school, support system, and involvement in community
- Both parent’s ability to care for the child
- The nature of the child’s relationship with both parents, and time they spend with each
- A child’s health, safety, and welfare (including potential issues such as domestic violence, criminal activity, or substance abuse)
Because the child’s best interests are of the utmost importance in family law cases and matters involving modifications, they must be taken into account prior to filing formal petitions with the court. Our attorneys work closely with clients to understand their current situations, needs, and goals, and to structure their cases effectively to pursue a positive outcome.
Discuss Your Case with Proven Family Law Attorneys
At Schuttler, Greenberg & Mullins, LLC, our Boca Raton family lawyers leverage more than 75 years of collective experience and the insight of Board Certified Specialists in Marital & Family Law (by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education) to guide clients through their unique legal proceedings. This includes the individualized support and representation they need to seek modifications of family law orders, or to defend against actions seeking modification.
If you have questions about your case, we encourage you to speak personally with a caring and compassionate attorney from our firm. We proudly serve clients throughout Palm Beach County, Broward County, and South Florida. Call (561) 336-6082 to schedule an initial consultation.