Jacksonville Child Support Lawyers
Alimony, Child Support, Child Custody, Time Sharing
Florida Modification Law Firm: When Your Circumstances Change
All families change over time. As their needs and goals change, legal action may be needed to make sure that existing court orders evolve to meet new family requirements. What was suitable to the parties at the time of the divorce may no longer work as jobs change, children age, and parents remarry. At the Beller & Bustamante, P.L., our Jacksonville child support attorneys help families obtain appropriate modifications to child support, child custody, visitation, time sharing, and alimony. We also address relocation issues when parents move into or out of Florida or away from the Jacksonville area.
Modifications of child custody or timesharing, child support, and alimony in Jacksonville often require proof to the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Substantial changes can be as simple as a greater financial need or increase in income or may include a change in your child’s environment or time sharing. Our Jacksonville child custody lawyers advocate for your rights in court to help you get the legal modifications you and your children need, and guide you through the often difficult procedures to get results. We also help families with the domestication of foreign or out-of-state judgments, assisting them in obtaining court orders that ask the State of Florida to treat an order from another state as its own. Domestications for matters like child support and visitation can be especially useful when families with children move into or out of the State of Florida.
When you bring your modification case to the Duval/St. Johns County area law firm of Beller & Bustamante, P.L. one of our attorneys will review your goals with you. Then we will examine the existing agreements between you and your ex-spouse or child’s parent. Together we will set realistic, achievable objectives that we will bring before the Florida family court judge. Whether you are seeking an adjustment in your spousal or child support, are looking to adjust your visitation schedule, or are attempting to become the primary custodian of your children, our compassionate Jacksonville child support lawyers can help.
We take action for you as fast as the Florida family courts allow. Beller and Bustamante, P.L. will take the time to work closely with you to understand your unique circumstances, goals, and concerns. Nearly thirty years of combined trial experience has taught us how to work effectively and efficiently for you.
Modification Requires a Substantial Change in Circumstances
As a general rule, Florida courts will not make changes to family law arrangements unless there has been a substantial change in the circumstances for at least one of the parties (e.g., parents or child).
In other words, small changes in your day-to-day life will not warrant a court’s attention. Even if they seem important to you, the court must first be convinced that the change in circumstances is significant enough to warrant a change in legal arrangements. Part of our job as Jacksonville alimony attorneys is to argue that modification is warranted.
Types of Family Law Modification in Florida
Our well-versed Jacksonville child timesharing lawyers can help you seek changes in any of the following arrangements:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Visitation and Timesharing
Below, we’ll look at the specific changes you can seek within each of those areas, as well as examples of life events that might qualify as a “substantial change in the circumstances.”
Child Support Modification
The monetary value of child support can be either increased or decreased, usually depending on changes in either parent’s income.
The court will also consider changes in the child’s needs. (For example, a parent who receives child support might be entitled to a larger amount of support if the child becomes afflicted with an unexpected long-term disability — even if the income of both parents has remained the same.)
In some cases, the role of providing support might even be changed from one parent to the other. This would typically happen in cases where one parent’s financial situation or life circumstances have changed dramatically, or where the child’s custody or living situation is changed. Our Jacksonville child support attorney can help you prove a change in circumstances and easy the financial pressure.
Child Custody Modification
In all questions of child custody, the court’s first and foremost concern is the best interest of the child. That is true whether custody is being established for the first time or a parent is seeking a change in custody.
Accordingly, to successfully pursue child custody modification in Florida, you will need to show both a substantial change in circumstances and that modifying custody will be in the best interests of the child.
Modifying Child Visitation or Time-Sharing in Florida
Parents frequently look to change their existing visitation or time-sharing agreements. In fact, clients ask us about these changes more than any other. That’s only natural, as your daily schedule can change dramatically from one week or month to the next.
Arrangements that made both parties happy last year might not make sense anymore.
But courts can’t possibly handle every request for every tweak in a parent’s schedule. For that reason, they are reluctant to revisit visitation arrangements unless there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of either a parent or the child.
Here again, the child’s best interest is the prevailing standard, and that’s especially important if the proposed modification to visitation would involve relocation or a significant increase (or decrease) in the amount of time the child might spend with either parent.
As Jacksonville child timesharing lawyers, we understand how important it is that visitation agreements make sense for the whole family as it evolves. We also understand that the court needs to be persuaded that a change is worth its time.
When you schedule an appointment with us, our experienced Jacksonville child support lawyer can take a close look at your situation. This will help determine how we might best make a case to the court that there has been a substantial change in the circumstances (whenever possible).
Courts are similarly reluctant to revisit alimony arrangements unless there has been a truly substantial change in circumstances. Even then, if the substantial change is a voluntary one, or if it was foreseeable when the original alimony plans were put in place, or if the change is of a temporary nature, the court might be less likely to agree to a modification.
For example, if a paying spouse voluntarily or intentionally takes a lower-paying job, the court might be hesitant to reduce his or her alimony obligation. (On the other hand, if the spouse takes the new job out of necessity — because of layoffs or reduced benefits – the court might agree to modify alimony accordingly.)
Typically, the court prefers to modify alimony only when there has been a substantial, permanent, and unexpected change in circumstances. Examples include:
- A spouse dies
- A decline in the paying spouse’s health condition (or some other significant ability to meet his or her payment obligations)
- The receiving spouse remarries (or enters into any ongoing relationship wherein a third party is providing significant financial support)
- Some other substantial change in the receiving spouse’s financial situation
Unsure as to whether you might qualify for alimony modification? Our Jacksonville alimony lawyers can help.
Contact Caring Jacksonville Child Custody Attorneys Who Serve the Changing Needs of Families
Contact Beller & Bustamante, P.L., by calling (904) 288-4414 to talk to our experienced attorneys about your alimony, custody, timesharing or child support, visitation, and modification concerns. We use our experience and in-depth knowledge of the law to take legal action that accommodates the changing needs of your family and yourself.