Practicing for Nearly 20 Years in Osceola, Orange, Lake, and Seminole Counties
Attorney Nicole Benjamin has been practicing law for nearly 20 years, and she is committed to advocating for parents and spouses in the family legal system. Naturally, your lifestyle and circumstances may change as time goes by, and court orders against you should keep up with those changing needs. From child support orders to child custody orders to alimony orders, you have the right to request a modification if you have experienced a significant change in circumstances. Attorney Benjamin can help you build a compelling case for modification and help you navigate the legal process.
To modify a child support order, the requesting parent must show the Child Support Program a substantial, permanent, and involuntary change in circumstances. A substantial change is one that:
- would cause a change in the order amount that is at least 15% but not less than $50 if it has been less than 3 years since the support order was issued; or
- would cause a change in the order amount of at least 10% but not less than $25 if it has been more than 3 years since the order was issued.
A permanent change in circumstances depends on the specific case. For instance, in most cases, to prove a permanent change, the requesting parent must show the change has lasted for at least 6 months. This means a loss of employment is not a permanent change if the parent expects to find new employment, but a severe, life-changing injury or illness or retirement at the normal retirement age may warrant a permanent change.
Lastly, a change is involuntary if it is not caused by either parent, such as an extended illness or employment layoff.
Modifying a Child Custody Order
Similarly, the grounds for modifying a child custody order are based on a material change in circumstances. Recall that custody orders last until the youngest child turns 18 years old, but if there has been such a material change in circumstances, parents may request a modification of the order. Parents may also request a change if several years have passed since the custody order was issued, based on the fact that a child’s needs will naturally change as they grow older.
Note that, as in the case of child support modifications, the parent filing the modification request has the burden of proving that a change in custody will be in the child’s best interests. For instance, if there is reasonable evidence of abuse at home or a child’s grades are slipping, a judge will likely order an adjustment of the custody order.
Another family law order that can be modified is alimony. To file for a modification of alimony in Florida (through the Supplemental Petition to Modify Alimony), the petitioning spouse must exhibit a substantial change in circumstances that was unanticipated at the time the alimony was first ordered. Note that as with child support modifications, this change must be permanent, involuntary, and material.
Some examples of substantial changes that may warrant an alimony modification are:
- long-term unemployment;
- retirement at the reasonable retirement age;
- health concerns;
- lottery winnings;
Note that the various types of alimony offered in Florida have different rules regarding modification. For example, bridge-the-gap alimony (financial support to meet short-term needs) is non-modifiable, and durational alimony (financial support for a specified period) may be modified in amount but not length.
Looking to Modify a Court Order?
Whether you seek to request a modification of a child support order, child custody order, or alimony order, Benjamin Law can help you file the appropriate forms and build a case for change. No court order is permanent, but you will need compelling reasons for adjustment or termination. Attorney Nicole Benjamin can provide an experienced and professional hand in the modification request process and help you negotiate an adjustment in your best interests.
Call (407) 410-3850 or reach out to our firm online for an initial consultation to learn more.
“Attorney Benjamin is great at what she does, I’ve used her services multiple times and always get the result I’m looking for. Very professional and very sharp at her craft. I highly recommend her services...”- David B.
“Attorney Benjamin made me feel at ease during a time I felt uncertain by communicating and keeping me informed every step of the way. Attorney Benjamin was also very thorough and very professional.”- Will
“Very professional and gets the job with integrity! If you need an attorney who will help you, I HIGHLY recommend Attorney Nicole Benjamin. I am forever grateful to her and her staff.”- Phala