In Florida, child support payments are based on a variety of factors, including the income of both parents, any special expenses and how many nights the child spends with the paying parent. Since any of these factors can change, it could be possible that a modification of child support payments is in order.
There are some situations, however, when a parent may be able to petition the court for a child support modification. These situations can range from temporary hardship to more permanent life changes. Unfortunately, modifying child support isn’t always easy.
If you believe that you may qualify for a modification of your existing child support agreement, then it is important to speak to an experienced Florida child support attorney.
The Income Shares Model for Child Support in Florida
Florida courts calculate child support by using the “income shares” model. The income shares model means the court will estimate the amount of money that would have been spent on the child if the parents had remained together. That amount is then divided between the parents based on their respective incomes.
Since state guidelines are used to arrive at the amount of child support to be paid, it is presumed these amounts are correct. Once child support is ordered, it must be paid – no excuses. Child support payments need to be taken seriously and paid on time.
Modifying Child Support in Florida
There are times when a “substantial and ongoing” change in circumstances for one of the parents may bring about the need to modify an existing child support agreement.
As an example, suppose the paying parent loses his or her job (through no fault of their own) and is simply unable to make the ordered child support payments until a new job is obtained. If it may take a while for the parent to obtain new employment, a modification could be in order.
Or, suppose the parent receiving child support receives a significant raise in pay, which could trigger the paying parent to request a reduction in child support.
Other issues which could trigger a child support modification could be a substantial change in parenting time (for either parent), or an increase or decrease in the child’s regular expenses.
An increase in the child’s regular expenses could be the result of an injury or illness, something like the child needing braces for his or her teeth, or simply the result of the child getting older and needing additional financial resources for after-school activities or a new sport. Changes in expenses could also be related to health insurance for the child or for the parent.
There is no absolute amount of income change, one way or the other, to trigger a modification petition. However, the revised income must result in a change in the monthly child support by at least 15 percent or $50—whichever is greater.
Contact Our Florida Family Law Attorneys
Life doesn’t always go according to plan. There are times when circumstances create the need to modify an existing child support agreement. If your situation has substantially changed, and you expect that change to be ongoing, it could be extremely helpful to speak to a Florida family law attorney to determine how to modify your child support payments.
Our office is conveniently located in Melbourne, Florida and we serve all of Brevard County, Florida. Please contact an experienced divorce lawyer at the Law Office of Jeffrey Thompson today by calling (321)253-3771.