Requesting a modification of your child support order is a difficult decision to make. As the providing parent, you may have significant changes in your earning capacity or life situation that makes it difficult to meet your current obligation. As the primary custodian of a child receiving support, there are various life events that may cause the previously ordered amount to be insufficient to allow you to provide for the basics of food, comfort and housing. Neither party in either of these situations believes they are asking for more or less than they deserve, but the fact of the matter is that the other side in a modification may not agree. A qualified attorney, such as those at the Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A., can apply their knowledge of modification proceedings in Florida to help protect your rights and get the new support order you need to meet your changed circumstances.
Child Support Modification
Under Florida law you may be entitled to a modification if certain conditions are met. But first, there are certain threshold circumstances that must be met.
- When does you support obligation end? If your child support obligation ends further than six months in the future, you may be eligible to request a modification. This means that if there are 6 or less months left on your payments, modification is unavailable.
- Has your order of support been modified or reviewed within the last three years? In order to qualify for a modification of your support obligation, your current order must not have been reviewed or modified in the last three years. There may be certain exceptions to this requirement in extraordinary circumstances.
- Has there been a substantial change in life and/or income or expense requirements? In order to apply for a modification, you must be able to show that you have experienced a substantial life change. For the supporting parent, this could include a new child whom you must support, a loss of job or earning capacity, or a variety of other circumstances. For a receiving parent or child, this could possibly include items such as an increase in medical bills due to a medical condition, or a significant other increase in education or other costs.
- Is the requested modification at least $50 or 15%? Finally, under Florida law a modification may only be requested if the change in amount is $50 or 15% of the current support obligation, whichever is greater.
Modification Proceedings and Order
Requesting a modification of your support order under Florida law will require you to file a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support. Much like during the original divorce or child support hearing, a Judge or other Judicial Officer will review your petition, including supporting documentation, and may even require that the parties attempt to work the modification out amongst themselves before trial in a process known as mediation. Once the Judge rules, or approves any agreement reached during mediation, the new support obligations will replace the previous orders.
If you have questions regarding Modifications in Florida or the related legal proceedings, contact us at the Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A. for a free consultation of the facts of your particular situation.