When a Florida judge enters an order terminating a marriage and establishing financial requirements of each party, many couples who have endured the process believe that the worst is behind them. Unfortunately, the future can be unpredictable, and people’s needs and situations change.
Many divorced individuals believe that they can unilaterally alter the court’s order by refusing to obey it. These two problems — a change in circumstance or refusal to obey a court order have the same solution: a motion before the court asking for an amendment to the original order or, in the case of disobedience to the original order, a motion asking the court to enforce its order by threatening punishment.
If the financial circumstances of a divorced spouse change significantly, the person can bring a motion before the court that recites the change in circumstances and asks the court for an amendment to its original order. The ex-spouse seeking such relief must provide clear and convincing evidence that circumstances have changed and that the original order should be amended.
Perhaps, the most common reason for seeking such a change is either an increase in the income of the ex-spouse who is making child support or alimony payments, or a significant decrease in the income of the spouse who is receiving such payments. If the evidence supports the motion, the judge will examine the financial circumstance of both parties and enter an order that the court believes is fair and equitable.
If one party persists in failing to meet the financial obligations imposed by the court in its original order, for example, by chronically failing to make child support payments on time, the first stem is obtaining an order from the court directing the delinquent payor to obey the order. If the delinquencies continue, the court can cite the person for contempt of court. In such cases, the object of the contempt citation can be made to bring all delinquent payments current, pay a penalty in addition and, in severe cases, serve