Can I Change my Divorce Settlement After it is Finalized?
Yes. However, this is not a simple process. A change to your divorce settlement is known as a modification, and they must be sought through the court that created your original divorce settlement. In most cases, they are not simply handed out – in order to modify a divorce settlement, the party seeking the modification must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate why the modification is necessary.
It is extremely rare for an individual to have the property division portion of his or her settlement modified. Typically, this only happens if the individual proves that certain assets were left out of the division, such as money kept in hidden savings accounts. Modifying a parenting plan, child support order, or alimony order is more common because as the years pass after a divorce, individuals and their families’ needs change.
An Appeal versus a Modification
A modification is not an appeal. If you feel your divorce settlement was determined without proper consideration of Florida law, you can work with your lawyer to appeal the court’s decision. When a court decision is appealed, it is brought to the District Court of Appeal to be reviewed. If the appellate court determines that a legal error occurred in the original trial, it may overturn the ruling. In order to have a ruling overturned, an individual must prove that the law was not applied correctly in the original case. Simply being unhappy with a divorce settlement does not warrant appealing it.
A modification, on the other hand, is a revision to the original divorce settlement. Modifications may be sought when the terms of a divorce settlement no longer fit the needs and lifestyles of the individuals named in the order. For example, an individual required to pay alimony to a former spouse might be unable to continue making these payments after losing his or her job. In this case, the paying spouse may have their divorce settlement modified to reduce the amount of alimony they must pay.
Proving that your Circumstances Changed Enough to Justify the Modification
When you submit a proposed change to your parenting plan, child support order, or alimony order, you must provide evidence that demonstrates how your circumstances have substantially changed to justify the change. Changed circumstances that can justify a modification include:
- Job loss or a new, higher paying job;
- Remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony;
- Changes to one or both household, such as a new partner and stepchildren moving in with a parent; and
- Health insurance changes for a parent and his or her covered children.
Draper Law Office can Help you Seek Changes to your Divorce Settlement
To learn more about modifying your divorce settlement and to determine if it is a feasible move for you, schedule your initial consultation with Draper Law Office today. Call us at 866-767-4711 or visit us online to get in touch and schedule our first meeting.