Modification Of Child Support In Florida

Child support can be modified upon a showing of a substantial change of circumstances of the payor or recipient. A change in the child support guidelines may provide the basis for proving a substantial change of circumstances. Per Florida Statute 61.30(b), a substantial change in the guidelines is defined as at least 15% or fifty dollars, whichever is greater.

If a payor or recipient of child support experiences a permanent change in their financial circumstances, they should consider filing a petition to modify child support. If a payor loses their employment and cannot find new work, child support will continue to accrue at the last court-ordered amount. Additionally, a recipient that is aware of their payor spouse’s substantially increased income may seek an upward adjustment of child support.

Attempting to change a child support order can be complicated and overwhelming. Should the need arise, our knowledgeable child support lawyers can answer your questions and provide valuable legal guidance. Contact Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC today to learn more about child support modification or request a free consultation!

Modifying Child Support Based On A Substantial Change Of Circumstance

Florida allows child support to be modified after an amount has been issued by the court, based on a substantial ongoing change of circumstances. For example, if either parent has experienced a substantial change in income, the court may modify the child support. Generally, courts only modify child support prospectively, if your income decreases substantially, you must Petition the Court for a Modification.

Whatever the change, the revised income must result in the child support amount changing by at least 15% or $50, whichever is greater. The substantial and ongoing change would include the following list.

  1. Income Change
    • Loss Of Employment
    • Either A Decrease In Income Or An Increase In Income
    • Substantial & Permanent Decrease In Available Working Hours
    • Substantial Decrease In The Net Income Of Self-Employment
    • A Substantial Increase In Necessary Business Expenses For A Self Employed Parent.
  2. Parenting Time Changes — If there is a substantial change in time-sharing that is a deviation from the schedule outlined in the parenting plan, the courts can recalculate child support based on the actual time sharing that is being exercised by the parents.
  3. Change in Expenses  —  If there is a change in child-associated costs such as childcare, additional child support for another minor, taxes, health insurance for the children or the parent, this could be cause for a modification of a current support obligation.

A substantial change of circumstances must be substantial, permanent, and involuntary. Until a child support order is changed, terminated, or vacated, the amount ordered is owed and will continue to be legally enforceable. It is a popular misconception that child support cannot be modified and those that do not seek modification due to a decrease in income may become severally impacted by the consequence of unpaid support.

When Will A Court Modify A Child Support Calculation?

A court has some flexibility when setting the amount of child support. The court is allowed to deviate from the child support guidelines by 5%, any more than that they need to make a written finding that explains the justification for a larger deviation. Some factors a court may consider when crafting a child support order that deviates from the statutory guideline amount include the following.

  1. Extraordinary medical expenses do not justify a child support increase or decrease, as medical expenses are considered extraordinary if they are a physical, mental, or other disability.
  2. Independent income of the child
  3. Regularly paid parental support
  4. Seasonal variations in the income of the parents
  5. Special Needs of a Disabled Child that have traditionally been paid by the parents.
  6. Time-sharing deviation: the guidelines assume there will be a traditional timesharing arrangement. If the timesharing arrangement is significantly different the support guidelines might not be appropriate.

Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC is a law firm serving Central Florida. Our attorneys offer dependable services in several legal disciplines, including probate, estate planning, and family law. Get in touch with us today to request a free consultation!