Modification and Enforcement
When parties file legal actions to resolve disputes over issues like time-sharing, parental responsibility, child support, and alimony, it will typically result in a court order dictating each party’s rights and obligations. Even if the court sets forth an appropriate order, situations can change, and what once was suitable may no longer make sense. Thus, it may become necessary to seek an alteration. In some instances, though, regardless of whether a family court order is fitting, a party will refuse to abide by it. Fortunately, the law provides remedies for either of these circumstances. Specifically, parties can seek modification or enforcement via the courts. If you are subject to a family law order that you wish to change or enforce, you should speak to a lawyer. The Miami family law attorneys at Hertz • Sager can advise you of your options and help you pursue your desired outcome.Grounds for Modifying a Family Court Order
The Florida courts have the ability to modify family law orders in certain circumstances. For example, parties can seek adjustments to parenting plans and child support and alimony orders. The burden of proof varies slightly depending on the nature of the change sought.
A party who wants to change a parenting plan or an order delineating time-sharing or parental responsibility must prove that there has been an unexpected, material and substantial change in circumstances that warrants the alteration. A request for a modification can arise for a variety of reasons, including a change in the health status of any party involved, a criminal conviction, or the relocation of either parent.
A parent who requests a modification to a time-sharing or parental responsibility order or agreement must also prove that the proposed change is in the child’s best interest. Factors that the court will consider in determining whether a modification will benefit a child include the child’s needs, each parent’s ability to provide for the child, and the child’s relationship with each parent. If the court finds that the change would help the child after evaluating the totality of the circumstances, it will likely modify the arrangement.
A party who wishes to modify an order or agreement pertaining to alimony or child support must also show a substantial, permanent, and unanticipated change in circumstances regarding the financial status of the parties involved. Usually, this means that the income or assets of one or both parties substantially increased or decreased. Alimony can also be reduced or terminated if the party receiving it remarries or enters into a support relationship with another person who is not a relative.Seeking Enforcement of an Order
Regardless of whether they agree with the terms of a family court order, anyone to whom an order pertains must abide by it; otherwise, they could face significant penalties. A person seeking to enforce a family law order can file a motion for enforcement and contempt against the party in non-compliance. The court will then hold a hearing, during which each side can present evidence. The party who brings the motion must prove that the responding party was non-compliant. If they do, the responding party must show an inability to comply with the order. If the court finds that the responding party was able but unwilling to pay ordered child support or alimony, or to abide by a time-sharing or parental responsibility order or agreement, the person may be held in contempt. The court may then order any sanctions that it deems appropriate to force the responding party to comply with the order, including fines, costs, attorneys’ fees, and even jail time.Consult a Trusted Miami Attorney
Family law orders sometimes may need to be changed over time. If you are pursuing modification or enforcement in a family law case, you should meet with a lawyer to discuss your rights. At Hertz • Sager, our Miami attorneys possess the skills and resources needed to help people dealing with modification and enforcement seek favorable results. We represent people in family law cases in Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, Palm Beach and Collier Counties. You can contact us at our office by calling 305.444.3323 or using our online form to set up a meeting.