What Is Considered A ‘Substantial Change In Circumstances’ In Florida Family Law Cases?
Florida law allows former spouses to modify court orders stemming from their divorce as long as they can prove a substantial change in circumstances. But what does a “substantial change in circumstances” mean and how can you prove that the change has occurred in your case to warrant a modification?
At Arwani Law Firm, our Orlando family lawyer Rania Arwani can help you modify child support, child custody, or alimony order by proving that your circumstances have changed substantially and materially since the original court order was issued.
What Does a Substantial Change in Circumstances Mean?
Under Florida law, parties are required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances to request a modification of their court order stemming from a divorce.
A substantial change in circumstances means exactly what it sounds like. Florida courts have explained that former spouses seeking a modification may prove that there has been a material, significant, and involuntary change that could not have been anticipated at the time the court order was made.
After filing a request for modification, the judge assigned to your case will have to determine whether or not your circumstances constitute a substantial change. Florida law allows former spouses to modify many parts of the divorce decree, including child support, alimony, and child custody. However, the division of marital assets is not modifiable after a divorce is final.
What is a Substantial Change in Circumstances in Alimony Cases?
What counts as a substantial change in circumstances when modifying a spousal support order depends on whether the requesting party is the payor or receiving spouse. If you were ordered to pay alimony, you might be able to modify the spousal support order if you can prove that you suffered:
- The loss of a job
- Substantial reduction in income
- Disability or serious illness
The receiving spouse’s cohabitation or job promotion may also count as a substantial change in circumstances in your alimony case.
What is a Substantial Change in Circumstances in Child Custody Cases?
Child custody cases are more difficult to modify in Florida. Court orders related to timesharing and parental responsibilities can be modified if:
- A parent has been diagnosed with a mental illness that puts the child’s safety or well-being at risk
- There has been evidence of substantial child abuse or neglect
- Relocation to a new state or country
Whether or not a change in circumstances is “significant” and “material” depends on the facts of your case. That is why it is advisable to consult with a skilled lawyer to determine whether or not you can modify your child custody order in your particular situation.
What is a Substantial Change in Circumstances in Child Support Cases?
Many of the same circumstances that allow parties to modify alimony orders also apply to modification cases related to child support. In addition to the above-mentioned circumstances that qualify for modifying spousal support, the child’s illness or disability may also be considered a substantial change in circumstances.
If you are not sure whether or not your particular situation is considered a substantial change in circumstances to warrant a modification in your case, talk to our lawyer Rania Arwani. Schedule a case review by calling 407-254-0060.