If there is a prior court order in place that requires child support, a parent may file for modification any time there is a “substantial change in circumstances.” The substantial change may consist of a change income for either parent. The substantial change may also consist of a change in the overnight parenting pattern exercised by either parent. The Florida child support statutes allow a modification petition anytime the petition would result in a change in support of at least 15% or $50 (whichever is greater).
Change in Income
The most common reason for a change in child support is a change in income. The change can be upward or downward and may involve either the parent paying child support, or the parent receiving child support. There is no absolute amount the income must change before filing for modification. But whatever the change, the revised incomes must result in the child support amount changing by at least 15% or $50. A good way to test if that standard is satisfied is give us a call and we will do a simple calculation for you.
Change in Parenting Time
Modification of child support in Florida may also be supported by
a substantial change in the pattern of parenting time. A new child support law has strengthened the ability to modify child support based on parenting patterns the recent change authorizes courts to calculate child support according to the “actual” parenting pattern – as currently exercised by both parents. If there has been a change in parenting time, give us a call. We will allow you to use or Family Law Software program to recalculate you child support.
Change in Expenses
Certain changes in child related expenses could justify changes in child support.
Daycare – When daycare expenses have been incorporated into child support, any change in daycare can serve as a reason to modify support. Or if one parent experiences trouble sharing the cost of needed daycare, they can address that problem by asking for the cost to be included in child support.
Other child support orders – Court ordered child support for children from other marriages are a valid deduction from total income. The support must be court ordered for this provision to have effect.
Taxes – When payroll taxes drastically change, the resulting net income may call for higher or lower child support.
Health Insurance for Child – Most Florida child support calculations include the cost of health insurance for the children. Each parent pays for that insurance in a proportion equivalent to his or her net income. There may be a need to file for child support modification when health insurance premiums change.
Health Insurance for Parent – Each parent pays for his or her own health insurance. But according to the Florida child support statutes, that payment is a valid deduction from gross income.
Parents that Lose Their Jobs
One frequent situation underlying child support modification cases is where one parent or the other loses their job. If the job loss is temporary a modification would be necessary to lower child support during this period.
Voluntary changes in child support
Changes in child support when the parties agree that a change is necessary can be done at a very reasonable cost. The Divorce & Mediation Center usually charges $795.00 for the documents necessary for such changes. There are small court and e filing costs which amount to approximately $145.00. Unless modifications are filed in court, they are not enforceable, and the original amount of child support is all that is required.
If one party is not in agreement on the change, we recommend mediation. Meeting with a fair and impartial third party to see if the issues can be resolved will cost far less that taking the matter to court with attorneys on both sides. Statistics indicate that there is an 85% chance that the matter will be resolved in mediation.
If we can be of assistance, let us know.
The Divorce & Mediation Center Inc.
Call 954 946 4774