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Post Judgment Divorce and Paternity Enforcement and Modification Summaries
By Orlando Divorce and Paternity Attorney Eduardo J. Mejias
Practicing Exclusively Family Law Since 2011
Many divorce couples are back in court after the divorce trying to get their ex-spouses to comply with its terms and provisions agreed to during mediation and/or decreed by a judge. The three most common cases of post-judgment enforcement are those related to child support, alimony and transfer of assets.
In child support and alimony cases most of the time in court is spent on the issue of the paying parent's ability to pay. This is because a court can only imprison a parent for non-payment if that parent has the ability to pay.
But enforcing the transfer of assets cannot use a prison term as leverage because these assets are considered a debt to be paid and Florida law does not allow the imprisonment of debtors. There are other legal procedures that can be used to enforce the asset transfer mentioned on this page.
Mere dissatisfaction with the terms of a divorce or paternity settlement is not grounds for its modification and the property distribution part of the divorce cannot be modified. For modifications of alimony or child support there have to be substantial changes in circumstances that are permanent, involuntary and unforeseeable. And modifications of time-sharing of child custody must also be in the interest of the child.
Modifying the final judgments of divorce and paternity rulings of parenting plans requires proof that “substantial changes in circumstances” occurred after the final judgment. And the post judgments events must change the fundamental dynamic of the parent-child relationship to justify these changes.
The three most common post judgment parenting plan modifications are: (1) the children are mature enough for the family court to hear their opinions, (2) an unforeseeable change in the residence or work schedule of at least one parent and (3) dramatic bad parenting that casts doubts on their ability to effectively raise the children.
One thing that drives the desire to reduce the time-sharing days of the other parent is that he or she has begun living with a new and distrusted partner. Since I started practicing family law in 2013 I have observed this recurring phenomenon. What used to be an amicable co-parenting relationship becomes filled with distrust and acrimony. But of all the reasons for modifying time-sharing, the “new partner argument” has to be the least persuasive to a judge.
The new partner may be considered a “change in circumstances” and these can justify a change in the parenting plan. But, changes in circumstances have to have occurred after the parenting plan was established, they have to be “substantial” and they must have had a negative impact on the children.
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283 Cranes Roost Blvd., Suite 111
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AAA Family Law is located in Altamonte Springs and serves clients throughout the Orlando Metro Area including, but not limited to, the following cities and unincorporated areas, by county: Orange County: Apopka, Bay Lake, Maitland, Ocoee, Orlando, Union Park, Winter Garden, and Winter Park; Seminole County: Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Lake Mary, Longwood, Oviedo, Sanford, and Winter Springs; Volusia County: Daytona Beach, DeBary, DeLand, Deltona, and Orange City; Lake County: Clermont, Leesburg, and Mount Dora; Osceola County: Buena Ventura Lakes, Celebration, and Kissimmee; Orange, Lake, Osceola, and Polk Counties: Four Corners; Orange and Seminole Counties: Goldenrod.