Most aspects of a court order can be modified, including, but not limited to, alimony, child support, timesharing (visitation) and decision-making for minor children (parental responsibility). The person requesting a modification must file a Supplemental Petition for Modification and prove that there has been a substantial, permanent and involuntary change of circumstances since the entry of the original order.

When modifying alimony, the original jurisdiction state keeps continuing jurisdiction to modify the alimony order throughout the existence of the support obligation even if all parties left the state. Therefore, another state cannot modify a Florida alimony order even if all parties have left Florida.

When modifying child support, the difference between the existing child support amount and the new child support amount must be at 15% or $50.00, whichever amount is greater, before the court will modify the child support.  If both parents and the child leave the state of Florida, Florida loses jurisdiction to modify child support, unless the parents consent to keep jurisdiction in Florida. If one parent has moved to another state, the parents can also both agree to transfer the child support case to that new state or keep the case in Florida. If the parties do not agree about the jurisdiction, the party requesting to modify child support has to go to the nonrequesting party’s home state to modify. However, if the nonrequesting party goes to another country, Florida keeps jurisdiction to modify child support.

Another important aspect that a parent may want to modify is the place where the child lives. It is important to note that in Florida, a parent cannot move with a child more than 50 miles from their place of residence at the time of the last court order unless the other parent consents. If a parent wishes to move more than 50 miles away with the child, he or she must file a Petition for Relocation. If both parents do not agree with the move, a judge decide if the child can move. The parent wishing to relocate with the child must prove that the relocation is in the best interest of the child, not just in the best interest of the parent that wants to move.

Any court order is also fully enforceable in a court of law. If a party is not complying with any portion of a court order, a motion for contempt and/or enforcement must be filed in court and set for hearing.

It should be noted that when a parent is not paying their court ordered child support, the other parent cannot refuse to honor the timesharing schedule. Likewise, when a parent refuses to honor the other parent’s timesharing rights, the parent cannot stop paying child support.



If you are a victim of any act of domestic violence or have reasonable cause to believe that you are in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, you can file a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence. The domestic violence laws only apply to your situation if the respondent is your spouse, former spouse, related to you by blood or marriage, living with you now or has lived with you in the past, or the other parent of your child(ren). If the respondent does not fall in one of these categories, you should file a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Repeat Violence if your situation qualifies.

Domestic violence, pursuant to Florida Statute 741.28, includes:

  1. Assault/Aggravated Assault
  2. Battery/Aggravated Battery
  3. Sexual Assault/Sexual Battery
  4. Stalking/Aggravated Stalking
  5. Kidnapping
  6. False imprisonment
  7. Any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death


In determining whether you have reasonable cause to believe you are in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, the court must consider the following factors in Florida Statute 741.30:

(a) The history between the petitioner and the respondent, including threats, harassment, stalking, and physical abuse.
(b) Whether the respondent has attempted to harm the petitioner or family members or individuals closely associated with the petitioner.
(c) Whether the respondent has threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm the petitioner’s child or children.
(d) Whether the respondent has intentionally injured or killed a family pet.
(e) Whether the respondent has used, or has threatened to use, against the petitioner any weapons such as guns or knives.
(f) Whether the respondent has physically restrained the petitioner from leaving the home or calling law enforcement.
(g) Whether the respondent has a criminal history involving violence or the threat of violence.
(h) The existence of a verifiable order of protection issued previously or from another jurisdiction.
(i) Whether the respondent has destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communications equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to the petitioner.
(j) Whether the respondent engaged in any other behavior or conduct that leads the petitioner to have reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.

If the facts contained in your petition convince the judge that you are a victim of domestic violence or that an imminent danger of domestic violence exists, the judge will sign an immediate temporary injunction without notice to the respondent that will take effect immediately after the respondent is served with a copy of it. The injunction will prohibit the respondent from coming near you, your home, your place of work, and any other place you go to on a regular basis. You will then be required to attend a hearing where the judge will decide if a permanent injunction should be entered. At the hearing, you will testify about the facts in your petition and the respondent will be permitted to present a defense. If a permanent injunction is entered, it can remain in effect indefinitely.



In Florida, mediation is required in most family law cases. Mediation is an opportunity for the parties to try to reach an agreement to resolve the pending case. The mediation takes place in an agreed upon location, such as one of the attorney’s offices or the mediator’s office.

Both parties and their respective attorneys, if applicable, meet together with a certified court mediator. The mediator is qualified to assist people in resolving their legal disputes and will try to help the parties reach an agreement. The mediator cannot provide legal advice to the parties; therefore, it is important that you are properly represented by an attorney during your mediation. During the mediation, the parties can move into separate rooms to discuss matters privately with their attorney and/or the mediator.

If the parties reach an agreement, they will sign a Mediation Agreement that will be sent to the assigned judge for approval. Never sign anything unless you are completely sure. If the parties do not reach an agreement, the case will proceed to trial where the assigned judge will make the final decisions in the case.  Everything that is said or discussed in mediation is completely confidential except a mediator is required to report any allegations of abuse.



If you believe that a judge committed an error of law, you have 30 days from the date of the court order to file an appeal. Appeals are complicated matters than must be handled by an attorney experienced in family law appeals. If you feel that you may need to appeal a court order, you must act quickly and discuss your situation with a qualified attorney.  If you do not file your appeal within the 30 day deadline, you lose the right to appeal that court order.



If the Department of Children and Families (DCF) has become involved with your family, you must have competent, qualified representation to protect your rights. A case involving DCF can be very overwhelming and emotional. Da Silva Law Firm can help guide you through this troubling time.


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Attorney Monica P. Lopez Da Silva focuses her legal practice exclusively in Family Law. We offer experienced representation in all areas and aspects of family law, including divorce, paternity, child support, timesharing (custody & visitation), parenting plans, modifications, alimony, domestic violence injunctions, mediation and dependency cases.

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Da Silva Law Firm in Tampa, Florida, represents client’s from the entire Tampa Bay Area, including, Bartow, Brandon, Brooksville, Clearwater, Dade City, Hernando County, Hillsborough County, Lakeland, Lutz, New Port Richey, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Plant City, Polk County, Port Richey, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Temple Terrace, Riverview

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