It is unrealistic for the courts to assume that a child support order that works in the early days of a separation will work five, 10 or 15 years down the road. At some point, you may find that your support order becomes unaffordable. Likewise, your ex may determine that the monthly amount is no longer enough. In either case, you may need to appeal to the courts for a modification.
If you or your ex desires a modification, it is important that you can show that you meet certain eligibility requirements for doing so. FindLaw provides an overview of Florida child support modification laws and, more specifically, what circumstances warrant a change to support orders.
Changes in income
A change in income is one of the most common reasons that parties request a change to support orders. A change in income can either be an increase or decrease in your or your ex’s annual salary. Florida law does not specify how great the change must be before you can petition for a modification. However, it does state that the income revision must result in a $50 or 15% change in the child support amount before the courts will consider granting a modification request.
Changes in expenses
If child-related expenses go up or down, the change may warrant a child support order modification. Examples of the types of expenses that may result in a modification are as follows:
- Spousal support
- Additional child support orders
- Health insurance for either parents or children
The court does have special stipulations for changes in spousal support and childcare expenses, so it is important that you familiarize yourself with those before you petition for a change.
Changes in parenting time
Finally, a substantial change to the timesharing schedule itself may warrant a change in support orders. If the courts change up the parenting plan, they will recalculate child support accordingly.
The courts are more than accommodating when parents encounter substantial changes in their personal and financial lives. If you need to modify an existing order, doing so begins with simply filing a petition.