Child support is a common source of disagreements between divorced or separated parents. It is very expensive to raise a child, and the parent receiving support may feel like the payments don’t cover enough of the child’s basic needs. However, the parent paying support may also feel strongly because of how much of their paycheck goes towards support.
Perhaps you are the parent receiving support and your situation has changed. You need more financial help than before, and you worry about meeting your children’s needs with your current resources. On the other hand, perhaps you are a parent paying support and have recently experienced some kind of hardship, like the loss of your job.
When can you change child support obligations in Florida?
Significant changes may justify an update to the support order
Florida has a system for determining how much child support is appropriate, and the amount varies depending on many factors. The calculations look at the division of parenting time, the income of both parents and any exceptional costs that children might incur. When those factors change, the total amount of support required might change as well.
A parent whose child just developed a major medical issue and who must now invest thousands in their care could have grounds for requesting more support because of those unusual expenses. On the other hand, a parent paying support could ask for a reduction in their responsibilities when their households income drops.
Especially if someone loses their job unexpectedly, a child support modification can be crucial. Otherwise, they may fall so far into arrears while looking for new employment that they truly struggle to catch up later. Simply agreeing to delay or reduce payments with the other parent isn’t sufficient to protect yourself. You will have to go back to family court to update the support order if you want to avoid enforcement actions.
Navigating financial matters can be a challenge
It’s common for both parents to feel strongly about support matters after the end of their relationship with one another. Those requesting a support modification will typically need financial records that help support their claim unless their ex is in agreement with the necessity of certain changes. Even then, uncontested modification requests still require court review, and a judge may not approve a reduction if they believe it would be unfair to the child or place a burden on the state.
Learning more about the rules that apply to child support modifications can help those receiving or paying child support in Florida.