As your child(ren) grow up and mature, so do their needs. This can result in the necessary modification of court ordered support from one or both parents.
When are you able to modify child support?
Generally, in Florida, the non-custodial parent must pay child support to the custodial parent to benefit the child(ren). This support obligation generally terminates when the child turns 18 years old, but extends through the child’s date of graduation from high school if the child has a reasonable expectation of graduating prior to their 19th birthday.
Child support is always modifiable as long as a substantial change in circumstances can be proven. A substantial change in circumstances requires evidence that the change meets all of the following requirements:
- permanent in nature
Additionally, this change should not have been foreseeable at the time the original child support was calculated and ordered.
Common Changes in Circumstances
So, by now you’re probably wondering what a substantial change in circumstances realistically entails. Well, it can encompass a wide range of scenarios, but a few common changes include a change in income for either parent, adjustments to timesharing, and changes in other expenses for the child(ren) such as daycare or healthcare costs.
Regarding income, change can consist of either a substantial increase or decrease in what one parent was previously earning. In order to constitute a significant change in circumstances, the modified income must result in the child support obligation being altered by 15% or $50, whichever amount is greater (see 61.30 1(b), Florida Statutes).
Child support may also need to be modified whenever a parenting schedule is revised. This is because timesharing directly impacts each parent’s support obligation. Significant timesharing by the payor will help reduce the payor’s monthly support obligation (see 61.30 (11) b, Florida Statutes). Conversely, the failure to exercise timesharing will increase the payor’s support obligation (see 61.30 (11) c, Florida Statutes).
Cost of Care Changes
Common changes involving costs attributable to the child(ren) that may require modification include changes to daycare and after-school care costs for the child(ren), and can also include changes to health insurance coverage costs for the child(ren). The cost of extracurricular activities of the child(ren), while not authorized by statutory authority, also commonly drive negotiations when support is being modified.
When to Get Counsel
No matter what kind of situation you find yourself in when exploring the possibility of modifying child support, you will want to consult with an attorney that is well versed in the laws set forth in Chapter 61.30, Florida Statutes.
The Family Law lawyers at Thompson, Crawford, Brown and Smiley each have over thirty years of experience helping their clients successfully negotiate this complex legal maze.
If you’d like a free consultation to discuss, please call us at 850-386-5777 or reach us through our Contact Form.