Can I Modify My Florida Child Support Order?
A child support order is modifiable under Florida law when there has been an involuntary change in a parent’s circumstances that makes the current order no longer reasonable, given your circumstances. A good example of a situation that might justify a modification would be one in which a parent is laid off from his or her job, or the company that he or she is working for closes down. That parent would likely have a major change in income, at least on a temporary basis, so there might be grounds for a child support modification. Likewise, if a parent becomes seriously ill or is injured and must be off work temporarily or even on a permanent basis, that parent probably would have a justifiable reason for asking for a Florida child support modification. Another example of when child support may be modified is if a parent is voluntarily failing to exercise his or her parenting time with the children on a consistent basis. This situation may amount to a substantial change in circumstances that may justify a child support modification.
On the other hand, a parent who voluntarily leaves his or her job and decides to stay at home with his or her children typically would not have a good reason for modifying a child support order. Because this is a voluntary decision on the parent’s part, he or she probably will have the same child support order. In order to change a child support order, there normally must be an involuntary or unexpected change in the parent’s life that results in a significant decrease in income. In fact, if a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, then the Florida child support guidelines allow the court to impute a certain amount of income to that parent, regardless as to whether he or she actually makes that amount of income.
There are other requirements that a parent who is seeking a child support modification must meet, as well. For example, the difference between the existing child support order and the newly recalculated child support obligation under the Florida child support guidelines typically must be at least 15% or $50, whichever is greater, in order for a modification to occur.
Child support orders may be difficult to modify, and there is a certain amount of evidence that is required in order to prove that a modification is justified under Florida law. You also need to follow all of Florida’s procedures for filing a support modification. You are likely to need the help of an experienced child support lawyer who can assess your situation, make a recommendation as to whether modification is possible in your case, and help you follow the legal procedures for obtaining a modification of the child support order, whether the goal is to increase or decrease the order.
At the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, we know Florida child support law, as well as how crucial a child support order can be to a family’s financial health. We have represented many clients in Florida child support cases, and we know what it takes to get a child support order modified. Please contact your Florida child support attorney by calling 954-800-2362, or fill out the online form located here.