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Child Support Modification

If you are the payor parent of child support and the reason you have cased payment of court ordered child support is for reasons outside your control (loss of employment, injury, etc.), then you have the option to file a petition with the court to modify your support order.

Do not become the victim of circumstances, take a proactive approach and modify your child support order before you are held in contempt of court.  

If you have been the receiving parent of someone not complying with a court order or you are experiencing a change in your circumstance that could lead to a modification of your child support order, call us to speak with an experienced family law attorney (833) 346-7452.

The court that makes the original child support award is said to have continuing jurisdiction to modify the order as conditions warrant.  That being said, either parent may request the court to change the order throughout the duration of the child's minority.  Modification of child support will not happen automatically.  One of the parents must request the change by a formal petition in court.

Child support orders cannot be changed on caprice or because a court thinks that 'it is time'.  It must be based on evidence proving that sufficient grounds exist to make the change.  This usually requires a showing of changed circumstances in almost all jurisdictions from the facts as they existed at the time that the last order was entered.  In the many years a child support order remains effective, the parent's circumstances may change many times and thus so may the child support order.

Many different scenarios can create changed circumstances.  For example, if the paying parent has had a large increase in income, the court can order the child support increased.  Or, if the child's needs grow, such as if the child becomes il or disabled, the amount of support can be ordered raised.  Sometimes the mere passage of time creates the changed circumstances.  For example, as a child grows older, it becomes more expensive to buy clothes, food and other necessities.  These increased expenses can be enough to justify a raise in the support order.

Support can also be reduced upon a proper showing.  For example, if the custodial parent inherits money, gets a large raise or otherwise has an increased ability to support the children, support payments may be reduced.  Or, if the paying parent loses his or her job the court can be asked to reduce support during the period of unemployment.

The mistake many parents make is to reach informal oral agreements modifying child support.  This often provides the seed for future discord.  The problem with oral agreements is that they are often vaguely worded and the memories or understanding of the parties my often differ.  Thus, any agreement by parents to modify child support should be put in writing so that there are no misunderstandings later on.  It is also a good idea to have a judge sign a court order based on the agreement.

Child support is an important issue whether you pay or receive support.  An experienced family lawyer is not an expense in a child support case - they are an investment.

Modification of an order is when one's circumstances have involuntarily and substantially changed.  In today's economy modifications are prevalent.  In Florida, child support is simply a statutory calculation based on the incomes of the parties.  If the income of one party has been decreased or increased by more than 15%, then that is a substantial changed and a petition for modification should be filed.