5 Situations Where You May Need to Modify Your Child Support Arrangement

Child support is meant to help both parents take care of their children following a divorce. Child support laws vary from state to state. In Florida there is a statutory table that determines child support amounts to be paid by each parent based upon their net income.  These amounts are the baseline child support amounts.  Whether you are paying child support or receiving child support, you should be aware that child support court orders can be modified in light of certain events.

If you want either reduced or increased child support payments, you’ll have to request a modification from the courts. Again, the requirements differ in every state. Generally speaking, you have one basic requirement: to prove that your circumstances have changed substantially since the previous child support order or modification was made, which makes the current payment amount unreasonable. Take a look at the following common scenarios for specific examples.

#1: The child’s medical needs have changed.

Your current child support order may contribute to many of the expected medical bills, but what happens if your child develops a chronic illness or disability? A significant change in your child’s health may be enough reason to request a higher child support payment.

#2: Your income has decreased.

A parent paying child support may be able to get reduced child support payments to make up for a loss of income, with a few conditions. First, the reduced income must be unintentional—you can’t simply leave your job and start paying less. You must show that you were laid off or demoted through no fault of your own, and that you’re taking steps to correct the situation. Another condition depends on your state, but you may need to show that your income has decreased by a certain percentage.

#3: Your income has increased.

On the flipside, a parent may be able to raise child support when the paying parent’s income has increased substantially. Many courts believe it benefits children to live in comparable circumstances when they are staying in either parent’s home. As with the income conditions for a payment decrease, you’ll generally have to show that the other parent’s income has increased.

#4: You become ill or disabled.

When an illness or disability limits your earning capabilities, it stands to reason that you may not be able to make the same child support payments as before. You may be able to modify the child support order in light of your new medical condition, whether it’s temporary or permanent.

#5: The child’s circumstances have changed.

A child support order may be modified based on a number of possible changes in your child’s circumstances. For example, a modification may be necessary if a child changes residence to live with the other parent. Courts may also consider things like educational costs, age-related expenses, and cost-of-living increases.

Whether you’re a paying parent or child support receiving, remember that you need the court’s permission to make any changes to your child support payments. You’ll need to file the right documents in the proper family court. If you have any questions about the modification process, you should consult an experienced family lawyer. The established law firm of Patrick McGeehan would be happy to assist you with your petition, so give us a call to discuss your needs. We’ll make sure you can support your children while keeping your own finances in good condition.

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