You and your ex-spouse have decided on all the necessary issues in a divorce, such as child custody, child support and alimony. You have come to an agreement on how to split assets and debts. You have signed the divorce decree and now you can move on with your life. You will not have to deal with the legal aspects of divorce anymore, right?
Well, not necessarily. Nothing is set in stone. Life is always changing. People change jobs. They make less money. Some make more money. People decide to move. One or both spouses may engage in poor choices. A parent becomes unfit, necessitating a change in custody.
These issues can require legal processes even years after a divorce. You or your ex-spouse may need to modify a custody or support agreement due to some sort of life change. Therefore, while you may be excited about finalizing your divorce, a divorce does not mean the end. In many cases, it is just the beginning.
People evolve over time and sometimes divorce cases do, as well. Therefore, you may not want to delete your lawyer’s phone number just yet. Unfortunately, you may just need to go through some legal process again. Here are some post-divorce issues that may arise in your case.
You may have agreed to pay a certain amount of alimony at the time of your divorce, but you may find yourself in dire financial straits a few years later. If there is a substantial change in your financial circumstances, then you may be able to file for a modification. Substantial changes include job loss, illness, retirement, death, and remarriage by either spouse.
Another change in circumstances is cohabitation of the receiving spouse. If the recipient spouse begins a live-in relationship with someone who financially supports him or her, then this is considered additional income. This could mean a possible reduction in alimony payments by the paying spouse. You will need to fill out the required paperwork and go to court to prove your case.
In Florida, alimony automatically ends when the recipient spouse remarries. The paying spouse can stop making payments on the date of the marriage. No court appearance or legal process is needed.
Child Support Modification
Just like a person can modify alimony payments, they can also make changes to child support. A job loss or disability can make it difficult for a parent to make payments. However, instead of stopping child support payments and ignoring this obligation altogether, they need to file a modification. Otherwise, they can end up in arrears and face penalties, wage garnishments, driver’s license suspension and even jail time.
What many people may not know is that the recipient spouse can also file child support modifications. If they find out that the paying spouse got a new job and is now making twice as much money, that would be a good reason to ask for more child support. Therefore, it is possible to see an increase, rather than a decrease, in child support.
To file for a modification, fill out the Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.905(B) Supplemental Petition For Modification of Child Support. There are various instructions that must be followed, so be sure to read the form carefully. For example, you will also need to file a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, Agreement for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Child(ren), Notice of Social Security Number, and Family Law Financial Affidavit. You will also need to serve notice to the other party. The process can be complicated, so if you are unsure, get a lawyer involved.
Child Custody Modification
Sometimes there needs to be a change in custody. One parent may decide to move to pursue a job opportunity or be closer to family. A move outside of the state would be circumstance that affects child custody and visitation. The custodial parent may end up with a substance addiction or be put in jail due to a crime. Maybe one parent is neglecting or abusing the child.
In these cases, the other parent can petition the court for a change in child custody, based on the circumstances. The judge will review the request and make changes based on the best interests of the children. If it makes sense to modify custody, then one parent may be awarded more custody, with the other parent awarded less.
A remarriage can affect several aspects of a diforce, including alimony, child support, child visitation and inheritances. If there is alimony involved, and the recipient spouse remarries, then the spousal support will end. In terms of child support, if the recipient spouse remarries, then the child support payments may be terminated, since the new spouse will likely be providing income for the family. A remarriage can also affect custody and visitation orders. Inheritances can also be affected by remarriages. Since there is now a new spouse involved, what a child receives in a will or trust may change. Their inheritance may now be reduced so the new spouse can inherit in the event of the parent’s death.
Seek Legal Help
Even after divorce, there are certain situations in which modifications may be needed. After all, life is always changing, which means that financial situations can change, as well. People lose jobs. Some make more money. Other issues can necessitate legal processes.
Palm Beach divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can guide you through any post-divorce legal matters you may be facing. Get the help you need so you can move on with ease. Call our office today at (954) 346-6464 and schedule a consultation.