When Florida family courts are tasked with deciding issues related to child custody and support and alimony, they will weigh the present circumstances and the needs of each party prior to making a decision. While a court will usually try to issue an order that is fair under the circumstances, an arrangement that initially seemed fair may no longer be appropriate once some time passes. As a result, parties are permitted to seek a modification due to a change in conditions. If you wish to seek or oppose a modification of an existing family law order, Orlando family law modification lawyer Felicia A. Bunbury at The FAB Law Firm can advise you about your options and help you seek a successful outcome. Ms. Bunbury regularly represents people throughout Florida.Modification of Alimony and Child Support Orders
The Florida legislature recognized that circumstances might arise that render an order granting child support or alimony unjust. Therefore, it has drafted laws specifically allowing for modifications and setting forth the parameters for when a court should adjust an order. Notably, modifications are permitted regardless of whether the parties entered into an agreement that was ratified by the court, or are subject to an order issued by the court. Either party can request that a court increase or decrease a support or alimony obligation due to a change in financial status.
The court will then assess the evidence presented by the parties to determine whether to increase, decrease, or confirm the current financial obligations under the order. For example, if the court finds that a party responsible for paying alimony or child support willfully refuses to work, the court may impute income to that person and decline to reduce his or her support obligation. Similarly, if a party receiving alimony begins cohabitating with a romantic partner who provides the party with financial support, the court may find that the party is no longer entitled to receive alimony. A family law modification attorney in Orlando can advise you on whether a situation likely meets the standard for a modification.Modification of a Child Custody Order
If a party seeks to modify an existing parental responsibility or time-sharing order, the party must demonstrate that there has been a significant and material change in circumstances that renders the prior order inappropriate. Examples of situations that may provide grounds for seeking a modification include a change in the health of either parent, a parent moving to another location, a criminal conviction, or a refusal to comply with an existing parenting plan.
If the court determines that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the circumstances warrant a modification, the court will then assess whether the proposed change is in the child’s best interest, which is the court’s driving concern in any case establishing parental rights and obligations. Factors that a court may analyze in determining whether to alter an order establishing parents’ rights include the needs and health of the child, the mental and physical health of the parents, and their ability to provide for the child. An Orlando family law modification attorney can explain how each of these factors may apply to your case. The court may also look at whether either parent is willing to foster the child’s relationship with his or her co-parent. If the court ultimately finds both that a change is necessary and that it would benefit the child, it will modify the order.Speak to a Dedicated Family Law Attorney
Although judges in family law cases aim to set forth orders that are just, situational changes may require a modification to an order that was initially appropriate. If you are a Florida resident subject to a family law order, and you wish to alter the terms of the order or are facing an action to alter the terms of the order, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible regarding the measures that may be available to help you protect your interests. Felicia A. Bunbury at The FAB Law Firm is a seasoned family law attorney who has the knowledge and skills needed to help you seek a fair result, and she will work tirelessly on your behalf. Ms. Bunbury regularly represents people who need a family law modification lawyer in the Orlando area or elsewhere in Florida. You can reach our firm through our online form or by calling 1-888-262-1618 to schedule a confidential and free consultation.