When can you seek a modification of your final judgment?
This question comes up during a series of different issues. Modification means changing your final judgment, but that’s not easy. There are a few select areas where courts allow a Modification. It’s important to know when you can seek it, especially before you finish an initial case. Once a case is done, most people don’t expect to change it. However, life is fluid and some things can change.
Modification is useful with parenting time and child support.
Both are areas where there are the most changes. People get new jobs, or they may be furloughed. Many employees during the COVID-19 pandemic were furloughed, for example. They may still be “employees” of a company, but they are not being paid. Likewise, parents may find changes arise as their kids grow up. Many things can happen over time, and the Courts have thus carved out a small area where people can seek a modification.
The first point to know is where you can modify a final judgment.
Modifications ARE allowed when it comes to parenting time and child support. Moving can also raise a need to change your final judgment. In all of these areas, Florida has some very specific laws to deal with such changes.
With any change to parenting time or child support, there must be a material and substantial change in circumstances shown. Without that, courts cannot modify the prior order. This is because of a doctrine called Res Judicata, which means the matter is decided.
If you have to move, this is called a Relocation. Florida law has a series of very specific things the court must look at. This includes how far you’re moving, why you are moving, the cost of the move, and whether the relocation benefits the children. Anyone seeking to move more than 50 miles must ask for court permission.
Modification is not allowed with property issues. Some people find this to be frustrating, but it promotes finality with equitable distribution, or the division of assets. However, modification is used in alimony cases, especially if your former spouse is now living with someone, but refuses to marry that person. This is called a supportive relationship in legal terms. Florida law provides a series of specific items which courts are to review in such cases. We can help with any type of modification.
After all, life is fluid. The one constant in life… is change.