The short answer is Yes! But in reality, a modification of a final judgment is difficult to accomplish. You need to be prepared to prove that your circumstances have substantially and materially changed since the entering of your original judgment and that the changes in circumstances were not reasonable contemplated between you and your former spouse at the time the final judgment was entered.
You may think of one-thousand reasons to review and modify your final divorce judgment, just keep in mind that the Florida family law courts will not grant every request for modification. Normally, the changes must be necessary and if children are involved, the chances must be in the best interest of the children. Some of the reasons that may qualify for a post-divorce modification are:
- Income increase;
- Loss of job;
- New business failure;
- Illness or physical injury;
- Increase of health insurance;
- Moving within Florida;
- Remarriage or cohabitation;
- Change in dependent’s status.
Basically, any major change in life can be a reason to revisit and request a modification to your divorce.
In Florida, whether you are dealing with alimony, parental responsibilities or time-sharing or all together, there are only two ways to modify your final judgment. This is somewhat similar to a divorce process:
- You can try to reach a mutual agreement with the other party before you file your request for modification. This is the preferable approach to handle a modification. It may take some time and effort negotiating between you and your former spouse. All terms that are modified have to be agreed to by both parties and a new modified written agreement has to be signed.
- If neither party can’t agree, you and or your attorney can file a supplemental petition for modification of final judgment. This petition will reopen your divorce case and you and your former spouse are back in the court system trying to modify the terms of your final judgment.
Filing a supplemental petition for modification can be a long and rocky road. Just like the initial proceeding, you will need to file a lawsuit, have the other party served, and wait 20 days for a response. You will have to go through mandatory discovery and attend mediation in an effort to settle the case. If during mediation no settlement is reached, a judge will listen to all of the evidence you have and make a decision for you. If your modification is granted and it is based on a reduction of child support or alimony, you may receive retroactive credits to the date the petition was filed.
At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients and provide valuable information for those that need assistance in understanding how to approach this particular situation in their own lives. If you are considering filing a supplemental petition for modification of final judgment, please call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. Click here for more information about our family law practice and how Seff & Capizzi can help.