Many divorcing couples believe that their case is finalized once a judge signs off on the divorce settlement in their case. This isn’t necessarily the case though. It’s still possible for each spouse to appeal a judge’s ruling. If that’s not an option, then they can request to modify their divorce decree.
Although it’s possible for a former spouse to appeal a divorce decree, appellate judges seldom overturn a lower court’s decision. One instance in which they’re likely to agree to hear an appeal is if there were enforceability issues or only one party agreed to the settlement terms. If there are concerns that a judge abused their power or there’s a suspected error of law or fact, then they may hear it as well.
If you aren’t able to file an appeal, then you may be able to file a motion to modify your divorce decree. This can be used by ex-spouses to request changes in child custody or support, visitation, alimony and property division.
Most states require those who file a motion to modify to provide evidence that their life circumstances have changed. This is generally the only way that they can get a modification hearing scheduled in their case. A sudden decline in a spouse’s health or a job promotion or loss may warrant an increase or decrease in the child or spousal support owed, for example.
For some, it may seem like a relatively straightforward process to request a court to change the amount of support that’s due. Seeking modifications to child custody orders can be much more complex though. Since judges are expected to carefully weigh what’s in the best interests of kids at all times, they may feel as if they made the right decision the first time around. They may be unwilling to revisit their previous decisions because of this.
Each jurisdiction in Florida has its own policies and procedures in place that must be followed when individuals file a notice of appeal or a motion to modify. If these steps aren’t taken when you follow your petition, then you may lose your chance to have a hearing scheduled in your case. An attorney can walk you through the process that you must follow in Orlando to give you the best chance of success.