A divorce decree contains the final orders of a family court judge in the dissolution of a marriage. These orders clarify the rights and obligations of both parties regarding the distribution of marital property and assets, child support, child visitation, custody orders, and alimony. The terms of a divorce decree can be revised for specific circumstances under the auspices of the court. It may be tempting to alter a divorce judgment without court approval. However, mutual verbal agreements between ex-spouses are not enforceable by the law. They can be construed as contempt if your ex-spouse changes their mind about the arrangement. Any post-judgment modifications that take place must be reflected in an official document.
Changes in circumstances that warrant a post-decree modification are:
• A re-marriage, cohabitation, change in a financial situation, chronic illness of the child, parental disability, mental incapacity, or other significant lifestyle changes of either parent can prompt a need for modification.
• The relocation of either parent, at least fifty miles away, for at least 60 consecutive days can render the parenting plan obsolete. This situation excludes a change in residence due to vacation, education, or medical care.
• Florida legislative changes can affect divorce law and can have an impact on the terms of a divorce decree, resulting in a request for modification.
• Changes in the child’s status, such as emancipation, marriage, or stepparent adoption, can justify a modification if the biological parent terminates their parental rights.
• One party willfully refusing to obey a divorce decree can result in revisions and prompt enforcement proceedings for contempt of court.
• Evidence of abuse or neglect of a child when in the custody of one parent is grounds for changes in the parenting plan.
The Process of a Modification
The petitioner for the modification has the burden of proof and must present convincing evidence to the court. A copy of the petition is served to the respondent, who can request a family court hearing and contest the petition for modification. At a hearing, the judge weighs all of the factors of the case in making his determination. If there are children, the decision is based on the best interests of the children. Suppose a respondent believes the judge made errors in his ruling. In that case, it is possible to have the case reviewed through an appeals process.
Enforcement for Divorce Decree Violations
The failure to comply with a divorce decree can result in the aggrieved party filing a motion for contempt and enforcement to compel compliance. A court has many mechanisms by which they can enforce orders. Penalties for non-compliance can include fines, garnishing wages, placing liens on property, imprisonment, loss of driver’s license, and others.
We have Solutions for Family Law Matters.
It is in the petitioner’s best interest and the respondent to have experienced and seasoned legal representation from a family law attorney. The Law Office of Frank P. Remsen P.A. understands that terminating marriage is complex and fraught with emotions and challenges. Our goal is to assist our clients in resolving their legal issues while minimizing the family’s stress. We can strategically determine the proper course of action to resolve your legal matters based on your case’s nuances. Attorney Frank P. Remsen is skilled in resolving family law issues through mediation and the courtroom.
Contact the Law Office of Frank P. Remsen P.A., for a free, initial consultation.
We can explain your rights and legal options for all family law matters, including post-decree modifications. Our offices are conveniently located in Tavares, Orlando, Clermont and Lake Mary, Florida. Make an appointment for compassionate legal representation by calling 352-309-0970 or 407-898-8822.