Modification of Settlement Agreements


“Change is the law of life.” John F. Kennedy said this in 1963, and it continues to ring true. Changes in the economy, employment, income, health, work and life schedules, and the needs of children come fast and unexpectedly. These changes can result in difficulty and confusion with the terms and conditions of your family law settlement agreement. When your life changes, certain aspects of your settlement agreement can also be changed to reflect and allow for new circumstances.

Through a process known as modification, you may be able to change alimony, child support, and time-sharing arrangements if certain criteria are met. As a general rule, agreements related to property settlements cannot be modified.

Modifications of alimony, child support, and timesharing all begin with proving “a substantial change in circumstances” after the original determination was put in place. Florida courts have held that the phrase “substantial change in circumstances” means a change in circumstances that is significant, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature.

In modifications of alimony and child support, the substantial change usually involves scenarios where someone is earning less, or more, money than they did when the original amount of their obligation was established. In modifications of time-sharing, the substantial change usually involves a parent failing to exercise time-sharing consistently or troubling situations where the needs of a child are not being met.

Whether changes in your life will constitute a substantial change in circumstances that will allow for a modification depends on your particular situation and case facts. You should not feel stuck in your situation though - a modification is worth exploring and can provide you relief if your settlement agreement becomes an untenable part of your life.

Want more information about post-decree modifications and how Robert Sparks Attorneys can help? Contact us to speak with a lawyer.