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Divorce Modification

Posted on : September 10, 2010

Divorce Modification Tampa

At Mindi Lasley, P.A. we’ve handled numerous modification cases.  I’m often asked what provisions of a divorce decree (also known as a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage) are subject to modification.  Unfortunately, there are many provisions of a Final Judgment that cannot be modified.  Furthermore, when a provision is modifiable, it’s not easy to do.  Your Final Judgment can’t be modified simply because you had a change of heart, made a mistake or didn’t have an attorney at the time of your divorce.  Because of the difficulties in modifying a Final Judgment, it’s important to have an experienced family law and Tampa divorce lawyer to advise you and protect your interests, both now and in the future.

If alimony is waived in the Final Judgment, neither party may try to request alimony in the future.  If alimony is awarded in the Final Judgment, it may be subject to modification depending on what time of alimony is awarded.  The standard for modifying alimony is a substantial, material and unforeseen change in circumstances.  An example of a circumstance in which a modification of alimony may be warranted is if one party loses his/her job.  Another example of when alimony may be reduced or terminated is if the party receiving the alimony co-habitats with another individual of the opposite sex.  The courts have also stated that the spouse who was ordered to pay alimony may retire at 65, which would provide for the substantial change in circumstances necessary to modify or terminate alimony.

Modification of alimony can be a complicated process with many hurdles to overcome.  There are many forms of alimony and they differ as to whether or not the amount can be modified, the duration of the alimony payments and when the alimony can be terminated.  When handling an alimony case, I consider the implications of each form of alimony and how it will affect my client in the future.  It’s important to plan in advance for a possible petition to seek a modification of alimony, and you want to ensure your interests are adequately protected both during your divorce and years down the road.

Property distribution (legally called equitable distribution) is another aspect of a Final Judgment that cannot be modified.  After the judge distributes assets and debts between the parties, that issue is concluded and cannot be revisited.

Because there are many aspects of the Final Judgment that are non-modifiable, and the provisions that are modifiable are associated with many hurdles, it’s important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side.

Please visit the divorce modification Tampa page for more information on the issues that can be modified.

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