Are you dissatisfied with your child support? Are you finding it difficult to make ends meet with your current amount? Rest assured it can be changed but only if your situation meets the qualifications.
Sometimes there are life events that may be grounds for modifying the child support arrangement you currently have with your former partner. Under Florida law, a modification could be justified when there is a “substantial change in circumstances.” In cases like these, you simply need to file a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support with the court, detailing the change and asking a judge to determine support based on your new circumstances.
In the State of Florida, there are essentially three types of changes to your circumstances that could justify a modification:
- Change in Income
- Change in Parenting Time
- Change in Expenses
It’s important to note that all of these must be long-term changes and cannot be voluntary by either parent.
Change in Income
If you or your former partner’s income increases or decreases considerably, that could warrant an adjustment to the amount of child support being paid. But this can only happen if the increase or decrease is significant enough that the new monthly amount would be 15% or $50 higher than what was previously paid.
In a situation in which you lose your job or your pay is cut significantly, if you’re the paying parent, the amount of child support you pay would be reduced. This would also be the case if the custodial parent received a significant raise. Conversely, if you’re the paying parent and your income increases significantly, you could be obligated to pay more. The situation would be the same if the custodial parent was fired or had to take a significant pay cut.
Change in Parenting Time
Backed by a Florida law passed in January 2011, modification of child support may also be supported by a significant change in the amount of parenting time. This may be applicable if the noncustodial parent’s time with his children increases over the mutually agreed-upon parenting pattern.
An example would be if a child spent every other weekend with her noncustodial parent, sleeping over Friday and Saturday nights. Over the course of a year, this would equal 52 overnight stays, or around 14% of the allotted 20% they had agreed upon. Now, if a Sunday night stay is added every other weekend, that would be 26 more nights over the course of the year, which comes out to 21% of the time. In the case of this parent, they could petition to have the child support obligation reduced, because the parenting time is more than the agreed upon 20%.
However, child support cannot be reduced simply because visitation is denied by the custodial parent (this is illegal) or the non-custodial parent simply doesn’t use the time allotted.
Change in Expenses
If a child’s or children’s needs have changed due to a number of limited and specific expense-related factors, child support could also be modified. Some of these factors include a change in health insurance premiums (for either the child or parent), an increase or decrease in alimony, and an increase or decrease in the cost of work-related childcare (which the State of Florida accounts for when calculating child support).
Our Child Support Attorneys have the experience and insight to help you navigate Florida Child Support laws. Call the office of Dean Tsourakis today at 727-785-2700. The initial consultation is free.on May 22, 2017