Child support orders are based on the income of both parents as well as the needs of the child. In the order, how much needs to be paid, when it needs to be paid, who will pay it, and who will receive it will all be specified. Because a child support order is based on the income of both parents and the needs of the child, it makes sense that changes in child support modifications can be made should incomes change or the needs of the child change. Here is what you need to know about requesting changes in child support modifications.
Requesting Changes in Child Support Modifications
Any parent who is a party to a child support case can file a petition in circuit court to request a change in an existing child support order. The parent who is seeking the modification, however, will carry the burden to prove that a modification is merited as there has been a change in circumstances. You see, in most instances, a court will not modify a child support order unless there has been a substantial, permanent, and involuntary change in circumstances experienced by one parent.
If it has been less than three years since the support order a parent is seeking to modify was issued, a change in circumstances will be considered substantial if the change in circumstances would merit the court changing the order amount by at least 15% and not less than $50. Whether a change will be considered permanent depends on the specific facts of a particular case. Under most circumstances, a court will find a change to be permanent in nature if the parent can show that the change has lasted for six months or longer. Temporary changes or changes that are short-term in nature, will not suffice for child support modification purposes.
A change in circumstances will be considered involuntary if the change came about through no fault of the parent. This may mean that the change was caused by an extended illness or due to a layoff from employment. Conversely, a voluntary change would come about as a result of the parent’s own choices.
If you are seeking a child support modification, know that the existing order will remain legally enforceable until it is changed, terminated, or vacated by the court. This means that the amount owed in the order will continue to be owed until it is officially changed by the court. The obligation does not go away because you have experienced a change in circumstances. A court must recognize the change and modify the support order accordingly before your obligation changes. As such, if you have experienced a change in circumstances, it is important that you do not delay in seeking a child support modification.
Florida Family Law Attorneys
If you need to pursue a child support modification, reach out to the team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou as soon as possible for assistance. Contact us today.