Divorce Modification and Enforcement
Child Support and Custody Modification Lawyers
In many cases, a change of circumstances after the divorce or other family law judgment or order is final will require adjustments to the child support, child time-sharing (custody), visitation, or alimony arrangements outlined in the decree. For help with the modification of any of these continuing commitments in your case, contact an experienced Jacksonville, Florida family law attorney at Makofka & Makofka for dependable advice and prompt handling of any necessary modifications.
Florida law recognizes the need for many divorced spouses or parents of children who were never married to change the terms of their alimony and/or child support payment, as well as time-sharing terms for various reasons, but generally requires that a showing of a substantial and permanent change of circumstances be presented and proven to the court before it grants a request for modification of any of the provisions of the judgement or order. Certain areas of family law judgments or decrees are non-modifiable however, such as property distributions. Property settlements and distributions can be, and are frequently, enforced.
In child support modification cases, the Florida child support guidelines may provide a basis for finding a substantial change of circumstances upon which a modification of an existing order may be granted. However, under Florida law, the difference between the existing monthly obligation and the amount provided for under the guidelines shall be at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater, before the court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances. A change this substantial can be based on upward or downward changes in income, unavoidable increases or decreases in living expenses, or other significant changes. Our lawyers can represent either the party seeking the modification or the party resisting it. In either case, we will make sure you have a firm understanding of your rights and responsibilities under the law, and we can help you achieve your objectives to the extent the law allows. For more information, see our post regarding How to Calculate Average Child Support in Florida.
Modification Guidelines and Custody Determination
Alimony modifications are not based on a set of “guidelines” as is the case with many child support modifications. Rather, the Court again employs the substantial change of circumstances standard, but there is no chart or guidelines for the Court to refer to. The analysis turns instead to a look at the respective financial pictures of the parties. Whereas need and ability to pay were the considerations that the court employed to set alimony, again, a different standard is employed to change such obligations.
The party seeking the modification of alimony bears the burden of proof and is required to show a substantial change of circumstances in order to obtain the relief requested. In Florida alimony modification cases, parties may seek to either reduce, increase, or terminate alimony. It is not uncommon for both parties to seek competing relief before the court in the same case, where one party is asking to reduce or terminate alimony and the other to increase alimony. At Makofka and Makofka, we have plenty of experience on both sides of the issue, having represented many people over the years in such alimony modification disputes and we can of course help you with your alimony modification case.
Post decree modification of divorce terms concerning time-sharing i.e., custody and parenting time are also a large part of our law practice. We frequently handle such matters, and are very experienced in these types of cases. There are a number of reasons why parties may seek to modify time-sharing, custody, and visitation orders and judgments. We frequently see cases involving drug and/or addiction, child abuse, changes in employment schedules, parental relocations, school problems, mental illness diagnoses, and the like, as reasons why parents seek a change. They are all important issues, and we treat them as such. At Makofka and Makofka, we have handled such cases since 1998, through all phases of litigation, through and including trial and appeal. We can help.
Florida Parent Relocation Cases
In parental relocation cases, one party’s desire to relocate to a new residence in a distant city or another state may form the basis for a requested modification. These cases are somewhat different from the others referenced above. Call us if you are in this position, we can help! Such relocation cases are highly technical matters governed by a specific Florida Statute and require a degree of expertise to fully understand their implications. Did you know, for example, that the parent proposing the move must give the other parent advance notice of intent to move under the statute? Some times parents will reach an agreement on such matters as visitation, travel expenses, or revisions to child support obligations, thereby eliminating much of the time and expense of such relocation actions. If you are facing a possible parental relocation modification issue, call us right away, before mistakes are made.
For more specific advice about your situation when facing the need to modify the terms of your decree pertaining to alimony, child support, or parenting time, contact an experienced Florida family law attorney at Makofka & Makofka in Jacksonville.
When it comes to enforcement of a court ordered obligation, you need a lawyer that understands how to get things done. A party cannot simply pick up the telephone and call the Judge asking him or her to make the other side of the case do something they were required to do. We get that question all the time. It does not work that way. In order to enforce a court-ordered obligation, like unpaid child support, or a party who will not agree to sell the marital home as required, a motion must be filed with the court and served on the other side of the case. The motion must be legally sufficient, and proper notice must be given before a court date can even be set.
People who go it alone and do not use the services of private lawyers for such matters generally tend to wait longer for court dates and help. That is a fact. At Makofka and Makofka, we understand what it takes to get you and your ex in to court quickly, and as efficiently as possible. You need the help, we are here to give it! Enforcement has been a large part of our practice for many years.
Give us a call for a Free Consultation at (904) 355-2700 to discuss your enforcement concerns.