Most of us believe after a Florida divorce that our legal wrangling with our spouses is over. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When the court orders alimony or child support to one spouse, the other spouse has an obligation to meet their financial responsibility. Additionally, there may be changes in the financial life of one spouse that necessitate requesting the court review support agreements for potential modification.
When can an agreement be modified?
Agreements for child custody or support payments may be requested if one spouse has experienced a dramatic change in their lives. For example, if the paying spouse is now making twice the amount they were making before the divorce, there may be a basis for requesting a modification of a child support order. By the same token, changes could also be made if one spouse has experienced a layoff or medical problem that requires them to be out of work for an extended period of time.
It is important to note that a judge must approve the modification and they have complete discretion over the agreement. If the judge believes there are no significant changes that have occurred to either parent, the likelihood is they will not approve a modification.
When a person fails to pay
When one person is responsible for payment of child support or spousal support (alimony) they have an obligation to meet their financial responsibilities. In some cases, they may simply be paying late and in these cases, the injured party may not have grounds to file for an enforcement order. However, if payments are not being made at all, it is important to contact a family law attorney for assistance.
Whether the payments that are to be made were court ordered or part of the overall divorce agreement, they are enforceable. When a spouse stops making payments, your attorney will typically allow them an opportunity to resume payments and cure any arrears. However, if they fail to live up to this modified agreement, your attorney may suggest going to court for enforcement purposes.
Once an enforcement order is in place, the court has the right to order the defaulting parent to make their payments. If they do not, they could be facing contempt charges, the loss of their professional licenses, fishing licenses and driver’s license. In extreme cases, the judge may order a wage garnishment to enforce payments.
When you are in a position that may require you request a modification of a child support order or you need help enforcing ordered payments, contact Kinnear Smith PA for assistance.