Whether a divorce agreement is reached quickly or as the result of contested negotiations, the final terms of the decree are not always the last word. Florida courts have many procedures in place to help couples change a marriage agreement in a manner that protects the interests of all the parties, particularly minor children.
Divorced parties have the right to appeal a final decision or request a modification in certain circumstances.
Appealing a divorce agreement
When appealing the decision of a divorce court, it must be based on the following grounds:
The judge erred in interpreting existing case law
Testimony or evidence that would have had a clear impact on the court’s decision was barred from being admitted
Important new information, that existed at the time of the trial, has only now come to light.
You may not enter any new evidence nor submit new testimony. You cannot appeal an issue that was not raised during the divorce process. The appellant is responsible for showing that one or more of the grounds above apply. Your appeal will be heard in an appellate court with the jurisdiction to rule on such a matter. The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the divorce order. In order to ensure that proper documentation is filed and done so within the right periods, it is best to have the representation of a qualified divorce attorney who knows Florida law.
Modifying a divorce agreement
It is possible in some instances to modify a settlement agreement or court order if you can demonstrate substantial changes in circumstances. For instance, an involuntary loss of a job or change in income can be grounds for decreasing or increasing spousal or child support payments. Custody arrangements may have to be modified if a custodial parent plans to relocate out of Florida. In a more serious circumstance, having evidence of child abuse or other unsuitable behavior by a parent may warrant a change in custody and visitation.