All is flux and nothing stays still, as the saying goes. The same is true with the ever-shifting dynamics of a family facing divorce. But one thing remains – the obligation of both parents to look out for their child’s best interests.
Whether you are the paying or receiving parent, a child support order details your responsibilities and the fair amount calculated by Florida courts for your child’s needs, including costs of food, housing, clothing, education, health and other extracurricular activities.
While the child support order may be applicable within a specific period, your individual economic situation and your child’s growing years could contribute to possibly rendering the order inaccurate. But when is a change significant enough to necessitate child support order modifications?
“Change in circumstances”
Florida law allows either parent to petition for modification. To gain approval for your request to increase or decrease the amount of child support, you must meet the following three conditions:
- Substantial: Amount adjustment of not lower than $50 or at least 15%, but it could also be a minimum of 10% or not lower than 25% if it has been three years since the court issued or reviewed your order
- Permanent: Entails job loss, a life-threatening illness or retirement lasting for at least six months, which means a short-term lack of employment would not stand if you anticipate replacing it soon after
- Involuntary: Refers to situations beyond your control, meaning anything of your choosing does not count, such as quitting your job or committing a crime
Ultimately, you must also consider your child’s circumstances. As they age, they may require additional or reduced financial support. You must take note that when they turn 18, child support generally stops, unless they have yet to graduate high school by that time or extraordinary exceptions apply.
Change is bound to be uncomfortable. But it can work out to your advantage if you know exactly how to work with your legal counsel in addressing these unforeseen realities for your child’s future.