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What does “change in circumstances” mean to modify child support?

| Dec 8, 2020 | Child Support |

When there is a child support order in Florida, the goal is to ensure the child’s best interests are met and the parents can provide the care necessary to achieve that. However, when a paying parent or the receiving parent has a different situation that requires a modification to the amount of child support they pay or receive, it is important to understand how to request that the order can be changed. A fundamental part of that is to know how a “change in circumstances” is defined. As with any family law concern in the state, having legal advice may be crucial.

Understanding the basics of a modification based on change in circumstances

When a parent asks to modify the child support order, he or she must prove that there is a change in circumstances significant enough to warrant it. The change must be permanent, substantial and out of the person’s control. A request to change an order, in general, can be made after three years have passed from when it was made, reviewed or adjusted. Changes can be made in less time, but it must be shown that there is a substantial problem that results in the amount being altered by a minimum of 15%. It cannot be for less than $50. If three years have passed, the change in circumstances would adjust the order by a minimum of 10%. It cannot be less than $25.

The permanent change requirement means that the change has been in effect for at least six months. Losing a job completely will not be categorized as permanent because the person will be expected to find other work. If a person suffers from a life-altering injury, this could be perceived as permanent. Regarding the change being out of the person’s control (involuntary), illness or injury can be considered in this vein. If the person simply quit a job or was arrested and jailed, then this is not viewed as involuntary.

Having legal assistance can address child support

The key with child support is to make sure the child is adequately cared for. Still, there can be myriad challenges that come up and make it necessary for a parent to request that there be a child support modification. Knowing about change in circumstances and how it is gauged as part of a requested child support modification can be confusing and complex. The current health crisis is one example of potential problems that might warrant a child support modification. For help, a firm with experience in all areas of family law might be needed.