Tampa Child Support Modification Attorney
After a divorce, separation, or child custody case involving minor children, the court will typically enter a child support order. Under Florida law, both parents share in the child support obligation since the state uses an “income shares” model for calculating child support. What this means is that the court will consider both parents’ incomes to determine a total child support obligation based on an objective table and guidelines. Then, the total obligation will be apportioned between the parents based on their individual incomes and other factors. For a wide variety of reasons, one of the parents might want to modify the child support order and their child support obligation. There are specific requirements for child support modification in Florida, and it is critical to work with a lawyer who can help. Contact our experienced Tampa child support modification attorney today to learn more about how you can modify child support in Florida.
When Can Child Support Modification Happen in Tampa?
Child support modification must go through the court anytime that a parent is seeking to modify child support based on the terms of a child support order or judgment. In other words, if there is court-ordered child support, you will need to petition the court to modify child support. For a court to agree to modify child support, the party seeking the modification will need to prove two key things:
- Substantial change in circumstances has occurred for one of the parties, including the parent(s) or the child; and
- Modification of child support is in the child’s best interests.
If you are planning to petition the court for a child support modification, you will need to file a petition with the court. Then, you will need to notify the other parent through personal service (if you know where the parent lives or works) or through constructive service (if you do not know the other parent’s address, or if the other parent resides outside the state of Florida or outside the United States). If the other parent does not file an answer, you may be able to file a motion for default to ask the court to enter a default judgment for the modification. The court can also enter a judgment for the modification if the other parent agrees or does not contest. Otherwise, the court will need to hear the case for a modification.
Do I Qualify For a Child Support Modification?
You may be surprised that your situation does qualify for child support modification. According to Florida’s Department of Revenue, you must meet the following requirements to request a review of your child support order:
- Your current order must not end within six months of when the department receives the request to review the child support; and
- If your child support order has not been reviewed or changed in the last three years OR you are able to show a significant change in your life that would warrant a review of the child support.
Examples of a Substantial Change in Circumstances in Tampa
What types of situations might constitute a substantial change in circumstances that could necessitate a modification of child support? Some examples include:
- Parent loses a job or is demoted such that the parent is earning significantly less money or is not earning any money at all;
- Parent becomes disabled and unable to work;
- Parent receives a significant raise and is earning substantially more money than their income suggested at the time of the original child support order; or
- Child now needs significant medical care that will require additional support.
Common Reasons for Modifying an Existing Child Support Order
There are many reasons for needing a child support modification. If the paying parent loses their job, they may no longer be able to afford the payments. If the receiving parent can no longer work and take care of the child at the same time, they may need to hire childcare services. Below are a few examples of why either parent may wish to modify a support order.
- Either parent loses a job;
- Either parent gains employment;
- Either parent gets a raise;
- Either parent receives a large inheritance, or large sum of money/assets in another manner;
- Either parent becomes sick and can no longer work for the time being;
- The child’s educational costs change;
- The child’s daycare or childcare costs change;
- The child’s medical needs change; and
- The child (if old enough) decides to start living with the paying parent, and the financial needs of the custodial parent therefore are decreased.
Contact The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over one quarter of all children under the age of 21 have one parent who lives outside of the household. Whether you are the paying or receiving parent, you need to work with an attorney to ensure that your goals are met when it comes to modifying an order, or keeping an existing support order as it stands. To talk to a qualified family law attorney today, call The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A. at 813-222-0888 to schedule a free consultation.