Requesting modification for court ordered child support

Attorney Yanique Otto (The Otto Law Group)

Scenario:

A few years ago you and your ex went to court to get a child custody (as it was called back then), and child support order. At the time, and under the terms of that order, you had your child only 20 percent of the time, in terms of overnight stays, and you were ordered to pay your ex $1200 per month in child support. Now, 3 years later, your ex’s work schedule has gotten so busy that she has asked you to keep the child more often – so you’ve ended up having him for about 60 percent of the time. In addition you got a pay cut and is making significantly less than you were at the time of the order. You suspect you are paying too much in child support, but you’re not sure what to do about it.

Here’s what you need to know

The basis for a child support modification in Florida starts with there being a substantial change of circumstances since the entry of the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage (or from the entry of the last order addressing child support).

The change of circumstances giving rise to a potential child support modification must be involuntary in nature. What this means, is that someone who voluntarily quits their job, or reduces their hours of work, is probably unlikely to obtain child support modification in a Florida court.

You’ll need to show that the change in circumstances was involuntary, and also that it could not have been anticipated at the time the last order was entered. The factors usually considered include an increase or decrease in income of either party, a change in the amount of overnight stays the child has with each parent, and overall changes to the child care related expenses.

So in the scenario above, you may be able to successfully petition the court for a modification of child support, since you now have significantly more overnight visits with the child, and your income has also decreased – two of the factors considered in determining child support.

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