If circumstances changed and you need either an increase or decrease of your current child support order, you can petition the court for a modification and, if a judge deems the changes substantial, your request may be granted. However, you should first consider discussing the matter with your former spouse/partner. If you can agree on a modification, it will speed up the process and spare everyone any unnecessary headaches.
Requesting a Modification of the Existing Child Support Order
If you cannot agree on a modification of child support payments after discussing the matter with your former spouse/partner, you can file a Petition with the court, stating the reasons a modification is necessary. You must thoroughly explain the changes in circumstances that took place since the court order was issued and prove that these changes are significant enough to warrant a modification.
There are a variety of circumstances in which a judge may grant a request to modify the child support order, including:
- The needs of the children changed, including special medical needs
- One of the parents obtains a new job with a greater income
- One of the parents loses a job or receives a pay cut.
- One of the parents developed a disability.
- There is a significant change in the amount of time the children spend with each parent.
- Many of the significant factors considered when initially setting the existing order significantly changed.
If the paying parent opts for a lower-paying job in an effort to reduce child support payments, a judge will most likely not modify the court order. In such cases, a judge will examine the parent’s prior earnings, education, and employment history to calculate what the parent’s earnings should be instead of the reduced amount. This is also referred to as “impute income.”
Additionally, if the paying parent remarries, the new spouse’s income will not have a direct impact on calculating child support.
The Modification Process
If you need a child support modification, you cannot go straight to court. You must first appeal to Florida’s Child Support Program. You can begin by contacting them here. Upon receiving the request, the Program looks at both you and your former spouse’s current finances. If they see justification for change, they move on to the next step.
Be careful before making this request. The Program considers everyone’s life changes in the review. If your ex-spouse has lost a job or been demoted, this could actually raise your child support payments. Remember that child support is determined by what is in the best interest of the child. The Program could easily decide that demanding more money from you will enhance your kids’ quality of life.
If the Program decides an alteration is needed, they appeal to the power that originally ordered child support. Sometimes that power is the Child Support Program itself. When this is the case, they can process the modification internally. If the court originally determined your order, the Program’s attorney will appeal to them. Remember, the court can still deny the request. Contact an attorney if this happens.
An out-of-state entity may have given the original order, either another court or child support program. If so, Florida’s Child Support Program contacts them, requesting modification. This process will take more time to process, and it could still be denied. Make sure you have good legal representation if your child support was ordered outside of Florida.
Reach Out to One of Our Knowledgeable Family Law Attorneys Today!
If you believe your child support order is in need of a modification, you need to obtain skilled legal representation to guide you through this complicated legal process. At Conti Moore Law, PLLC, our team has more than 15 years of collective legal experience and a dedication to protecting the legal rights and interests of our clients. With us on your side, you can feel confident that you will receive the best possible results for your case. Life constantly changes and court orders must change with it. Turn to us for the guidance and advice you need to achieve your goals.
Get started on this process and call our law office today at (407) 315-2006 to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys and discuss your post-divorce medication case.