Winter Park Family Enforcement & Modification Attorney
Modification of Orders, Some Important Factors:
As with virtually all family law matters, modifications of child support and alimony payment orders, as well as time-sharing orders, can be resolved by a settlement between the parties, or determined by the court. Beware, as true modifications of existing orders can only be done through the court. A simple oral or even written and notarized agreement with the other party changing or eliminating a support obligation, or modification of a time-sharing order will not necessarily be effective- the actual court order must be modified by the judge. Think about it this way, if the judge once ordered it, the judge is the only one who can change it! We have seen many cases where people hire us after finding out too late that they still owe support they believe had been waived by the other party, or the time-sharing change that had been agreed to months ago now will no longer be honored.
To be successful in court in an effort to modify child support and alimony orders, proof is typically required to demonstrate that there has been a substantial and involuntary change in circumstances creating materially different financial circumstances than existed at the time of the original order. Interestingly, the birth of subsequent children to a paying parent’s new family can be a defense available to that parent where the child support receiving parent is seeking an increase, but it cannot be used to justify the paying parent’s effort to decrease an existing order of support. For alimony modifications, important law changes have included provisions that now allow a modification or elimination of alimony if the former spouse receiving alimony is cohabitating in a supportive relationship with an unrelated adult. Re-marriage of the alimony-receiving former spouse is no longer a requirement.
Modifications of time-sharing orders require proof that there has been a substantial and permanent change in circumstances justifying the modification that are in the best interest of the child. Relocations of the child begin with timely and proper notice to the other parent and timely and proper objections to the relocation if it is not agreed to.
A consultation with Mr. Zelman or Mr. Cotter will help you decide how to best effectively modify an existing child support, alimony or time-sharing order, or defend an effort to modify these orders.
Enforcement of Time-Sharing Orders
Non-compliance with time-sharing orders can be among the most emotionally traumatic issues our clients deal with. The reasons for non-compliance with time-sharing orders are often quite complex. A consultation with Mr. Zelman or Mr. Cotter will help you decide how to best either enforce an existing time-sharing order or defend a related contempt matter. It should be noted that the non-payment of support is not justification to fail to comply with a time-sharing order. Similarly, non-compliance with a time-sharing order does not justify failing to then pay child support.
Contact Our Experienced Winter Park Family Law Modification & Enforcement Attorneys
At a contempt hearing regarding enforcement of time-sharing orders, section 61.13(4), Florida Statutes, provides guidance for the judge if contempt is found. To discourage further violations, the judge can order extra visitation to compensate for visitation improperly denied as expeditiously as possible, and scheduled in a convenient manner for the parent who was denied contact. Reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred to enforce contact rights and to seek make-up contact (at the expense of the offending parent) for that which was improperly denied can be awarded. The offending parent can be ordered to attend an appropriate parenting course to discourage such continual behavior, and educate the offending parent as to the appropriate manner of dealing with their parental responsibilities. The offending parent may be ordered to perform community service in order to discourage the parent from future interference with contact rights. The Court can also alter the time-sharing schedule to effectively award rotating custody or primary residence to the aggrieved parent as a result of the offending parent’s willful interference with contact rights.