Modifying your Child Support Order
When a couple with children divorces, the court generally creates a child support order for them. This is money paid from one spouse to the other on a regular basis to help him or her cover the expenses of raising a child, such as the need for more groceries and other household supplies and the items the child uses, like school supplies and clothing.
As children grow, their needs change. Parents’ financial realities change over time too. When a couple’s original child support order no longer serves their children’s needs, they can have it modified.
Determining if you Qualify for a Modification
In Florida, a child support order may be reviewed for a modification after it has been in place for three years. It is possible to modify a child support order before three years have passed if there is a substantial change in circumstances that makes a change necessary. A child support order cannot be modified less than six months from its termination date.
Reasons to Modify Child Support
There are valid and invalid reasons to modify a child support order. The court may deny a motion to modify a child support order if it deems the parent’s reason to not be in the child’s best interest. A few valid reasons to alter a child support order include:
- The child becomes disabled and the parent needs more money to care for him or her;
- The paying parent loses a job and cannot afford his or her obligation;
- The paying parent becomes disabled and cannot afford his or her obligation;
- One of the children on the order graduates from high school or turns 18 and no longer qualifies for parental support; and
- The children’s parenting time schedule changes.
A few invalid reasons to change a child support order include:
- A parent quitting a job or intentionally staying underemployed to avoid a higher payment; and
- An adolescent who receives support has a child of his or her own.
Legally Modifying your Child Support Order
Parents cannot just alter their child support order between themselves. They must have the order legally modified with the court. This starts with filing a Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Support with the court where the original order was filed. The filing parent must complete a financial affidavit within 15 days.
The other parent must be notified of the petition because he or she has the right to file a counter-petition. If he or she does so, the parent who filed the initial petition must file a Notice for Trial, after which a hearing is held to rule on whether a modification is appropriate. If the parents agree to a modification, the court schedules a final hearing to confirm it. In any case, both parents must complete a financial affidavit and submit it to the court.
Work with Draper Law Office to Modify your Child Support Order
If your child support order is creating a financial hardship for you or if your child is not receiving the support he or she should be receiving from your former spouse, work with an experienced Florida child support lawyer to modify your child support order. To learn more about modifying a child support order and get started with our team, call 866-767-4711 or visit Draper Law Office online to set up your free, no-obligation consultation in our office.