In Florida, Can Adjudicated Child Support and Parental Time Sharing Agreements Be Modified After the Final Judgment?

  • Posted by Grant Gisondo
  • December 27, 2017 2:22:20 AM PST
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As a post judgment modification for child support and/or parental timesharing has a number of confusing and sometimes complicated issues, it is usually wise to consult and use the experienced services of professional legal counsel when looking to modify child support or parental timesharing.

The immediate answer to the question, can adjudicated child support and parental time sharing be modified after the final judgment? is “yes”. In fact, in Florida, the right to modify child support and/or parental time sharing following the final judgment cannot be waived for any reason. There are, however, important stipulations regarding this type of modification which must be in place before the court will allow a mediation or in the event the mediation fails, put the case before a judge for a final decision. Florida Statute 61. A gives the complete requirements regarding modification of child support and parental time sharing. Additionally, all evidence, including the required financial disclosure, provided for the modification must be accompanied by adequate proof. Here is a summary of the conditions that must be met:

 

The key words when seeking post judgment modification are changes that are:

  1. Material: Change will need to have a specific time change and/or monetary change associated with the request.
  2. Substantial: Changes must be serious to the point of needing “substantial” change. In other words, something must have changed in the family dynamic that significantly affects the children and/or either parent. Examples of this would be a parent becomes critically ill for an extended period of time with little or no hope of full recovery in the future;  a parent loses his or her job through no fault of their own and is not able to find adequate employment over several months of diligently trying; cost and/or location of child care changes dramatically; a child needs extensive medical, dental, or psychological care; one party wins the lottery or receives a large raise in pay.
  3. Unanticipated: Put simply, this means any change which happens following the final judgment of which neither party had any knowledge of during the adjudication of their case. Examples of this would be winning the lottery; being involved in a serious car accident with on-going medical issues; child contracting a life threatening illness such as cancer; home being destroyed by fire; parent job change requiring a change in the overnight scheduling.
Once all the above criteria have been met with proof, a party can proceed to file a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support or in the case of modification of parental timesharing, complete a needs test to determine if the basic need to file can actually be proven to the court’s satisfaction. This test is found in “when to use” section of Instructions For Florida Supreme Court Law Form 12.905. In addition, both parties are required to complete a full, financial disclosure.
 
If both parties agree with the desired post judgment modification, following the filing for change, the case can move directly to the judge who will review the details and, if no irregularities are found, will sign the changes into effect. When there is disagreement from either party, 20 days after the filing for post judgment modification, a mediation date will be set. Hopefully, an agreement will be reached during the mediation and a mediation agreement will be signed by both parties. If this does not happen, then the case will proceed to the court where all evidence and proof will be reviewed by a judge who will ultimately then make the final decision.
 
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