Child Support Modification in Florida
The finalization of a divorce may not be the last time you and your former spouse see each other in court, especially if your divorce included an order for child support. In many situations, a child support order may have been appropriate at the time of the divorce, though a change in circumstances has now caused the order to be excessive or inadequate. In such cases, you or your spouse may wish to pursue a child support modification.
You Can Agree to a Modification
The easiest and most efficient way to obtain a child support modification is to speak with your child’s other parent and see if you two can reach an agreement for a modification. If you agree, you will simply have to have the court approve the modification for it to go into effect. Generally, Florida courts will approve agreed-upon modifications unless the support ordered is far below what would usually be required by Florida state guidelines. Even if the amount is not in line with the guidelines, you may be able to argue why the agreed-upon amount is justified and show that the child will still be adequately supported. An experienced family law attorney can help you present your case to the court so that the process goes smoothly.
In many situations, two parents are not able to agree on a modification for various reasons. Therefore, the parent seeking a modification must petition the court to order a modified amount of child support. In order for a court to consider a modification, a few factors must be met, including that the sought amount must be at least a $50.00 per month or 15 percent difference (whichever is greater) than the existing order and there must have been a substantial and involuntary change in circumstances that warrants the modification.
Common examples of changes in circumstances that often lead to child support modification in Florida include the following:
- Change in one parent’s income (either up or down). This also applies when one parent gets remarried and the household income increases.
- Change in the time each parent spends with the child, usually measured by how many overnights the child spends with each parent per year.
- Change in the child’s expenses, including no longer requiring daycare or a child developing illness or a serious medical condition.
- Change in the parent’s expenses, such as an alimony order ending, a change in health insurance costs, or other valid expenses.
The court will not modify child support based on voluntary changes in circumstances. For instance, if one parent chooses to quit a high-paying job and voluntarily works only part-time, they will likely not be granted a modification to pay a lower amount since the change was voluntary. A Florida court will generally grant modifications, however, it finds that a modification is both justified by a substantial change in circumstances and that it is in the best interest of the child.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Family Law Attorney for Help Today
If you are seeking or fighting a child support modification in Florida, you should always have the assistance of an experienced attorney who understands Florida child support laws. At the All Family Law Group, we have helped numerous clients obtain child support modifications in an efficient manner. Contact an experienced Tampa Bay family law attorney at All Family Law Group, P.A. by calling 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge.