10 Child Support Modification Questions Answered
People’s needs, capacities and circumstances have a way of changing over time. For that reason, Florida family laws allow for child support modification. However, obtaining a child support modification in Florida is not as easy as some people may think.
In today’s post, we answer ten of the most common questions surrounding modification of child support in Florida.
1: Is Child Support Modifiable in Florida?
The Florida child support statutes allow a modification petition anytime the petition would result in a change in support of at least 15% or $50, whichever is greater.
“The guidelines may provide the basis for proving a substantial change in circumstances upon which a modification of an existing order may be granted. However, the difference between the existing monthly obligation and the amount provided for under the guidelines shall be at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater, before the court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances.”
2: Who Can Seek Child Support Modification in Florida?
Any party paying or receiving child support can seek a modification of that child support in Florida. The burden is on the requesting parent to show a change exists such as a shift in income, parenting time, or with certain expenses.
3: Can Parties Agree to Unmodifiable Child Support?
You can never designate child support as unmodifiable. Any time a parent establishes the basic requirements for modification, that parent may file a petition for modification of child support.
4: What Happens When There’s a Significant Change in Parenting Time?
Recent child support law authorizes courts to calculate child support according to the “actual” parenting pattern – as currently exercised by both parents despite what the parenting plan calls for.
5: Does Child Support Modification Need to be Involuntary in Nature?
The change of circumstances giving rise to a potential child support modification must be involuntary in nature. For example, a person who voluntarily quits their job is probably unlikely to obtain child support modification.
6: What Factors Serve as the Basis for a Child Support Modification to Decrease Support?
✔️Paying party’s loss of a job
✔️Paying party’s loss of income
✔️Receiving party making more money
✔️Children’s expenses decreasing (i.e. no more daycare)
7: What Factors Serve as the Basis for a Child Support Modification to Increase Support?
✔️Receiving party’s loss of a job
✔️Receiving party’s loss of income
✔️Paying party making more money
✔️Children’s expenses increasing
8: Do Changes in Expenses Justify Modification of Child Support?
Yes, certain changes in child-related expenses could justify changes in child support. A couple of the more common changes are:
✔️Any change in daycare
✔️Change in alimony. More alimony means less child support and visa versa
✔️Drastic change in payroll taxes
9: How is The Amount of Child Support Determined in Florida?
Florida has a child support guidelines worksheet, with a formula that calculates the amount of child support.
You can use a child support calculator to better understand how the calculation works.
10: Can I Reduce My Child Support Due to COVID19?
In Florida, a loss of employment or involuntary decrease of income are considered valid grounds for reducing the amount of payments. However, if you experience an economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your existing support order will continue to charge at the ordered amount until there is a court order that either modifies or terminates it.
At Brodie & Friedman, P.A. our modification lawyer’s experience with Florida family law and procedure can give you a good idea of the likelihood that any proposed modification will be approved. If the change you have in mind isn’t likely to be granted, we’ll recommend that you save the money and trouble you would otherwise spend on a longshot court hearing. Similarly, if you’re inclined to oppose a motion for modification, we can help you pick your battles wisely.
With over 30 years of combined experience, Jason Brodie Esq. and Joshua Friedman Esq. will guide you toward realistic goals and provide committed advocacy toward achieving them. They are known throughout South Florida for dedicated client service, tenacity, and success in complex divorce litigation involving property division, child custody, and spousal support.
To get a better understanding of the qualities our reputation is built on, contact our office in Boca Raton to schedule your initial phone consultation (561) 392-5100