Modify A Divorce Settlement

by Angela from Jacksonville, Florida, Duval County


Once both parties sign the divorce marital settlement agreement, can either party go back and have it modified to get more money?





Answer to Florida Divorce Question

Dear Angela,

The simple answer is yes and this depends on whether the divorce case is final or not.

If the divorce has not been completed, then it is still possible to modify the agreement and proceed in a contested manner.

If the divorce has been finalized and a judgment issued, then only certain aspects can be modified by either spouse through a Supplemental Modification procedure.

Since you agreed to the equitable distribution of assets and debts, it is very highly unlikely that any court would reverse a previous judgment on the distribution of assets or who takes on what debts unless some extraordinary circumstances exist.

What can be modified is alimony payments or issues dealing with children including child support. If you have had a considerable increase or decrease in income, the loss of a job, a disabling medical issue affecting the cost or care of your children, or even the need for one parent to relocate to another city, you can modify your divorce settlement.

However, it must be a "substantial change" before a court will change or award anything to either party. When the modification issue involves a child, the court will review the existing ruling and the reason for the change and will always consider the best interest of the child before approving any modifications.

You or your spouse could request more child support or relief from paying child support, but there must be a sound reason as to why the courts would do this.

This is what is known as a "substantial change" in circumstances.

In terms of child support, the courts will still use the child support guidelines outlined in the Florida statutes when determining support amounts.

Generally speaking, in terms of spousal support, or alimony, it is unlikely that the court would approve more alimony, but the order could be modified to fit a different payment method or schedule.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Modify A Divorce Settlement

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“Equitable distribution of assets”,
by: Peter

Modification of "Equitable distribution of assets", I was married for 20 years and divorced 9 years ago. We had no children and no property other than a timeshare at the time of the divorce. I was ordered to pay a set amount every month until one of us dies as part of an equitable distribution of assets order.

At the time of the divorce I would have agreed to anything. In the 9 years since the divorce I have more than paid 50% of the assets we had at the time of the divorce. What chance if any do I have to get this order cancelled or modified. What would happen if I just stop paying?

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