Is it time to modify?

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Is it time to modify?

Unread postby ResoluteDad » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:48 pm

I am through my Florida divorce. However since I finalized a few things have happened:

1- I identified an error by my attorney which listed my income 20% higher than it is. This resulted in a higher CS amount agreed to in mediation. My requests to fix it were met with a vow to continue litigation and cost me more than I’d save by fixing the math error. My atty advised to leave it, because I would need to modify as soon as my daughter starts school anyway.
2- I bought a new home. My mortgage is significantly higher. 95% higher in fact.
3- My girlfriend and her 2 sons live with me full time (1 minor)
4- My girls are at my house 60% of the time vs the agreed 50%.
5- My ex refied her house and her mortgage went up 40%.
6- My ex was demoted in her job with a loss of about 10% of income.
7- My youngest daughter started school and childcare costs dropped about 50%
8- My ex took an advance of a large annuity settlement that was due in 3 years. The arrival of the settlement was the cutoff date for alimony specifically because she would no longer have a need. She got about 1/3 of the money immediately after we finalized.

My question is: is it time to file for a modification of CS? Alimony? Both?

Based on my calculations my CS should be significantly lower just based on income and time sharing. Not even factoring in additional kids in my house or the advance she took. I believe it is about 26% too high (using a very basic calculator). I have no idea if she’d qualify for alimony based on the new situation that has evolved since we settled in January.

What are some things to beware of?

How far back does the court look in a disclosure related to modification? 6 mo? 12 mo?

What are the risks? Can this come back to bite me?

I don’t want this to cost me more than I benefit. Can I do this Pro-Se?

Any other advice you can give?

Thank you to the vets here! My divorce was pretty awful. I am happy to PM with anyone wanting to discuss the ins & outs.
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Re: Is it time to modify?

Unread postby Tom Kirkpatrick » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:30 pm

Q: Were all of the above factors known at the time of settlement??.....or at the time divorce was finalized??

ResoluteDad wrote:I am through my Florida divorce.
1) When was divorce finalized??
Making corrections to the decree is time-sensitive and very difficult to do.

BTW - If the time sensitive date has passed, you'll hafta file for modification. Trouble is, depending upon jurisdiction, modifications can be restricted up to to two or three years since the last order was written. You need to see if this is true for you.

2) Did you settle out of court??
Do you have copies of the settlement agreement??

3) Who wrote the decree??
If your attorney wrote the decree, it should favor you (ever so slightly). That's what you pay him for.

4) Did you read the decree before signing?? Did you get a second opinion??
Corrections must be made before you sign, otherwise you're stuck with you've got.

ResoluteDad wrote:I identified an error by my attorney.....my atty advised to leave it
If it's not too late, instruct your attorney to fix decree errors ASAP. If he bills you, file a formal complaint with the FL State Bar.

Tom
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Re: Is it time to modify?

Unread postby ResoluteDad » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:03 pm

Tom Kirkpatrick wrote:1) When was divorce finalized?? Making corrections to the decree is time-sensitive and very difficult to do. BTW - If the time sensitive date has passed, you'll hafta file for modification. Trouble is, depending upon jurisdiction, modifications can be restricted up to to two or three years since the last order was written. You need to see if this is true for you. 2) Did you settle out of court??Do you have copies of the settlement agreement?? 3) Who wrote the decree??If your attorney wrote the decree, it should favor you (ever so slightly). That's what you pay him for. 4) Did you read the decree before signing?? Did you get a second opinion?? Corrections must be made before you sign, otherwise you're stuck with you've got.


1) July 2017
2) Mediation agreement used as template for judges order,
3) my atty wrote it.
4) Yes, no. I found the math error after both parties signed, but before finalization.
5) I still owe a bit of atty fees and I do believe the statement includes charges related to discussing the error, but not correcting it, because it was never corrected.
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Re: Is it time to modify?

Unread postby BartSimpson » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:19 pm

You are not going to get a do-over. The time to identify the error was before you agreed - and it was your responsibility to the other party that you did so.

Perhaps your dating before the divorce was settled contributed to your lack of focus on the details?
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Re: Is it time to modify?

Unread postby TJinCA » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:19 pm

1. The time to have caught the error was before the offer was made in mediation. Alternatively, you could have called her bluff--continuing to litigation would have cost both of you, and from what you say probably would have cost her more than she'd have lost by fixing the math error. Bad on your attorney for making the error, but bad on you for not catching it sooner. And if you want to open it up again now you're in the same situation you were in before--it's going to cost you to get the error fixed.

2 & 3. Probably irrelevant. You obligated yourself to those additional expenses knowing what your CS/SS obligation was. And doesn't your girlfriend contribute anything toward expenses? Are you now supporting her and her two kids?

4. I'm not sure, but is a 10% custody difference enough to argue about? Might she just suggest the solution is for the kids to spend more time with her?

5 & 6. So her need for support is increased. You don't want to go there...

7. I would think this would be covered by the CS calculation for your state. So maybe cause for a mod request

8. You might be able to argue for a mod to SS based on decreased need, but should consider if her getting the advance on the annuity could be argued as a foreseeable circumstance, and also what it would cost to fight for a mod.

Since CS is typically just a calculation I would think that if the facts behind it are substantiated you could ask her to stipulate to a change. But I'm not sure I'd recommend litigating either CS or SS, I'm not sure it would pass the cost-benefit analysis.
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Re: Is it time to modify?

Unread postby TJinCA » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:27 pm

Also, unlikely you'd be successful getting a mod on a three month old order.
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Re: Is it time to modify?

Unread postby afc » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:34 pm

Your girlfriend and the man she made the kids with is the one obligated to support her kids.

Anything you do for them is voluntarily and doesnt mean your kids get less money.

Girlfriend has a job, right?
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Re: Is it time to modify?

Unread postby Trevor » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:58 pm

TJinCA wrote:Also, unlikely you'd be successful getting a mod on a three month old mutually-agreed and executed consent decree.

There. FTFY.
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