On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Have you been ordered to pay child support in Florida? Although you need to make payments according to the terms of your existing order while it remains in effect, for various reasons, you may one day be able to modify your current child support order. This guide explains the basics of the process.
Changing a Child Support Order in Florida: What You Need to Know
The Initial Request
The process of modifying a child support order in Florida begins when a parent who has been ordered to pay child support requests the Child Support Program to review the original support order to determine if there is valid reason to modify it. Another option parents have is to file a petition in a circuit court.
The parent who receives child support payments must be notified of a petition to change a child support order. They may contest the petition if they believe that a modification should not be made.
Providing Financial Information
Whether a parent works through the Child Support Program or a circuit court in their attempt to modify a child support order, they will typically be required to provide financial information. A request to change a child support order will usually only be granted if it is determined that a parent’s financial circumstances have changed to such an extent that they will no longer be able to make payments according to the terms of the existing order. Thus, they must offer sufficient proof of a change in their income or overall finances.
Be aware that not all changes in a parent’s financial situation warrant modification of a child support order. It must be demonstrated that the change qualifies as relatively substantial, permanent (or indefinite), and involuntary. For example, if someone voluntarily decided to quit a lucrative job and is deciding not to pursue work despite being able to obtain a job that would likely pay what they had been earning, their request to modify a child support order might not be granted.
Again, a parent who is receiving child support payments may contest a petition for modification. When this happens, it might be necessary for a hearing to take place in which each side can state their case. During these proceedings, it is helpful to have legal representation.
A judge or the review board of the Child Support Program will review all the information provided and the arguments to determine if the child support order should be modified. If the request is denied, very little occurs. Both parents are notified and child support payments must continue to be made, although it may be possible to appeal a decision in some circumstances.
If the request for modification is granted, the order will be modified accordingly and the parent who filed the initial request will begin making new payments based on the specifics of the changes made to the past order.
This process can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. At the Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A., a Fort Lauderdale child support modifications attorney will assist you every step of the way. Learn more by contacting us online.