No one can predict the future, and circumstances in life can change suddenly and unexpectedly. Florida family law courts understand this and allow parents to modify child support orders if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Under Florida, child support law §61.13, both parents have the right to request a modification of child support. The modification can be to either increase or decrease the required amount of child support.
Child support obligations are regulated by the court and cannot be changed without court approval. In order to modify a child support arrangement, the party seeking the modification must prove to the court that there has been a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances. In addition, the party requesting the change will have to show the modification is in the best interest of the child. This can be difficult without experienced, skilled legal representation. If you want to request a modification or dispute a proposed modification, you should contact a family law attorney for assistance.
In order to obtain a modification of a child support order from a Florida family law court, there must be a substantial change in circumstances that could not be predicted or foreseen at the time that the original child support order was issued. Examples of possible unpredicted or unforeseen grounds for a modification include:
- The economic hardship of a parent
- Health care expenses of the parent or child
- The increased cost of living
- Disability of a parent or child
- Sudden financial windfall or higher-paying job
Losing a job may also be valid grounds to modify a child support order. Unemployment may temporarily stop or lower a parent’s child support obligations. However, the loss of employment must be done in good faith. Intentionally quitting a job or taking a lowering paying job for no reason other than to request a child support modification will not be seen as valid grounds for modification. On the other hand, if a parent obtains new employment with a higher salary or other forms of increased compensation, a court may order an increase in child support payments.
Consult With a Child Support Lawyer in the Tampa Bay Area
Regardless of whether you need help modifying an existing child support order or contesting a modification, Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can help. The Tampa child support lawyers at our law firm have years of experience helping clients in all types of child custody modification matters. We know what it takes to obtain a child support modification and we continue to aggressively protect our clients both in and outside the courtroom.
Frequently Asked Questions
In order to modify an existing child support order there must be a substantial change in circumstances. If there has been a substantial change, a petition to modify child support should be filed with the court. The change will not become effective until it is approved by the court.
If the other parent earns more income since the last child support case, you may be able to file a petition to modify/increase the amount of support. Additionally, spending more time with the child may also be grounds to modify/increase child support.
If the other parent has stopped paying support without court approval you may have grounds to file a motion for contempt. If the motion is granted, the court will require the support to be paid. Additionally, they can impose penalties against the party who failed to pay.
Normally, child support ends when the child turns 18. However, the support can be extended until the child turns 19, if the child is still in high school. Additionally, if there are special needs for the child, support may be extended past 19 years of age.