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On what grounds can a child support order be modified?

Modifying a divorce order — whether it deals with spousal support, child custody or child support — tends to be a complicated matter. For child support, Florida has a legal formula that we call the child support guidelines. The guidelines account for these factors:

  • Both parents’ incomes
  • The number of children to be supported
  • The costs of child care, including health care

The guidelines are used to set up a baseline amount, though the amount of child support could be lower or higher than the amount generated by the formula, depending on factors such as special needs the child may have. A child support order can also be modified under certain provable circumstances, which we’ll consider here.

For example, a motion for a child support modification can be filed on the basis of a paying parent’s job promotion. The parent receiving support could seek to have the other parent’s increased income accounted for in the child support order. Likewise, if a paying parent loses a job or is forced to change to a lower-paying job, then a support modification may be appropriate.

What a paying parent may not do is simply quit a job to reduce income and avoid paying child support.

In any case, parents seeking a support modification, whether upward or downward, must provide proof of a change in circumstances, and a family law attorney can offer guidance in this area of Florida law. It is also possible in many cases to settle post-divorce disputes outside of court, thereby avoiding litigation and the related costs. If litigation is necessary, then you’ll want a family law attorney on your side as an advocate.

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