Some of the provisions in a Final Judgment may be modified by the Court or by the agreement of the parties. Child support, alimony, and time sharing are among the frequently modified provisions. Typically, the party that wishes to modify a provision in a final judgment must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
For an upward or downward modification of child support, the Florida Statutes define what is considered to be a substantial change in circumstances. The party requesting the modification must show that there would be a 15% or $50 change (whichever amount is greater) to the current amount of child support. A modification of child support often occurs when a party’s income increases or decreases. However, a child support modification may also be possible if the amount of day care or medical insurance changes substantially.
Since an award of alimony is based on one spouse’s need for the alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay, the amount awarded may be modified if there is a substantial change to those factors.
Lastly, if children are involved in a case, time sharing can be modified. The party requesting the change has to first prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that was not anticipated at the time of the prior court order. After this factor is established, the party requesting the modification then has to show that the requested change is in the best interest of the child. It is important to note that the “best interest of the child” is not considered until after the “substantial change” has been established. There is no strict definition of what constitutes a “substantial change in circumstances.”