Modification of Child Support in Florida
According to Florida law, both parents are legally obligated to financially support their children. This is true regardless of whether the parents are married or not. When parents get a divorce or separate, the court uses a specific calculation to determine the amount of child support one parent will pay to the other. Like in other states, in Florida, child support orders are not set in stone and can be modified under certain circumstances. However, obtaining a child support order modification in Florida is not an easy task. If you want to modify a child support order, you should work with a qualified child support attorney. Below is more on the modification of child support in Florida.
Basic Requirements for Modifying Child Support in Florida
In Florida, an existing child support order can be modified if there is a “substantial change in circumstances.” Either parent can file a modification petition if they or the other parent experiences a substantial change in circumstances. This means both the paying and receiving parties can seek child support modification. According to Florida Statute 61.30, parents can file a child support modification petition if the modification would result in a change in support of at least 15% or $50, whichever is more.
What Is a Substantial Change in Circumstances?
A change in circumstances is considered substantial when it is significant, material, and ongoing. Additionally, for a parent to qualify to have a child support order changed, and the change in circumstances must be involuntary in nature.
The following are some examples of circumstances that may be the basis for decreasing child support;
- Paying parent’s unintentional loss of a job
- Receiving parent starts making more money
- Paying parent’s involuntary loss of income
- A decrease in children’s expenses
Below are some examples of circumstances that may be the basis for increasing child support;
- Paying parent starts making more money
- Receiving parent’s involuntary loss of a job
- Receiving parent’s involuntary loss of income
- An increase in children’s expenses
Modifying a child support order may also be possible if there is a significant change in parenting time. Florida law authorizes courts to calculate child support according to the “actual” parenting pattern despite what is in the parenting plan attached to the last final judgment.
Burden of Proof in Child Support Modification Cases
The burden of proof in a Florida child support modification case falls on the parent seeking the change. Whether a party is seeking more support or a reduction in child support payments, they have the burden of proving that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred that warrants the modification.
In Florida child support modification cases, the standard of proof is generally a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means the party seeking modification must show that there is a greater than 50 percent chance that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred.
Contact a Tampa Child Support Attorney
If you need help seeking a child support order modification or fighting a modification petition, contact a skilled Tampa child support attorney at The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A.