Life Often Brings Changes

Modifications of Final Judgments and Prior Court Orders


Sometimes it is necessary to seek a modification of prior orders. Many family law orders entered by Florida courts can be changed under certain circumstances.  This is called a modification and it occurs most often in cases involving parenting plans and time-sharing schedules, child support and alimony.  Modifying a prior order takes a great deal of skill and it is important to have the right lawyer on your side. 


The statute says that if a party has a substantial, material, and unforeseen change in circumstances then they may petition the court for a modification of a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule. This means that a person’s life situation changes, in a way that is substantial, and that change was not contemplated at all when the judge entered the final judgment or most recent order modifying a parenting plan (if applicable), a parent may petition to the Court to modify the parenting plan or time-sharing schedule.


In child support cases, the Florida Child Support Guidelines may provide the basis for proving a substantial change in circumstances upon which a modification of an existing order may be granted. However, the difference between the existing monthly obligation and the amount provided for under the guidelines shall be at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater, before the Court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances.  Some of the factors that are used to calculate child support are each parent’s income, health insurance expenses, daycare expenses (if applicable) and the time-sharing schedule if both parents have at least 20% overnights with the minor child or children.


Most forms of alimony are modifiable but others are not.   Bridge-the-gap alimony and lump sum alimony cannot be modified.  Rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony, and permanent alimony may be modified or terminated under certain circumstances.  Examples of such circumstances are a significant change of income by either former spouse, disability, retirement, remarriage of the recipient former spouse,  the recipient former spouse engaging in a supportive relationship, or the recipient former spouse no following through with a specific rehabilitative plan.  This list is not inclusive and every alimony modification case is unique.


Our team based in Tampa practices divorce and family law throughout Florida, but primarily represents clients in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Polk counties.  Wherever you need an expert attorney who is Board Certified in Marital and Family Law, we stand ready to help .  We thank you for taking the time to review our website. If you have questions, or would like to schedule a consultation at our Tampa office, please contact us at (813) 251-6222.  

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