Unfortunately sometimes one spouse won’t follow the agreement they entered into. This occurs for a variety of reasons, for example sometimes things have changed, sometimes they didn’t like one portion of the agreement all along, and sometimes they are just being difficult.
Regardless of the reason for the change it is important to follow the proper procedure. If one spouse desires a change in the agreement it is necessary to file a Motion to Modify the agreement or to come to a written modification between the parties. If your spouse does not file a Motion to Modify the agreement but unilaterally modifies the agreement it is necessary to file either a Motion for Contempt of Court or a Motion to Enforce.
In one recent case the parties had agreed that the Husband would pay one half of their eldest child’s college expenses at a Florida University. However, the son elected to attend an out of state school. The mother desired that the Father pay one half of this expense. However, the Court was without jurisdiction to order this because the mother did not modify the valid agreement. The Appellate Court held
absent a pending motion to modify, the trial court lacked authority to modify the terms of the marital settlement agreement by order that the former husband be required to reimburse the former wife for only one-half of the cost of the oldest son’s college education, based on what the cost would have been if the child had attended a state university in Florida on his Bright Futures scholarship.”
See, Hartman v. Hartman, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D785 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012).
Dustin Michael Butler is an Attorney with Martin Law Firm, P.L., whose practice focuses in Family Law and Civil Litigation. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Florida and the Federal Court for the Middle District of Florida. He primarily practices in Lee County Florida in Cape Coral and Fort Myers, Florida.