Florida parents who make or receive monthly child support payments may be wondering whether or not they qualify for a modification to an existing child support order. This modification can be very helpful when there is a change in a parent's financial circumstances.
A child support order dictates the amount of money that must be paid from one parent to another and when it should be paid. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, these orders are based on the needs of the child and both parents' income. Generally, these orders can be modified for three reasons: if there has not been a review or change of the order within the last three years, if there will be at least six months of payments following the request for modification or when there has been a large change in the financial situation of a parent or the child. Modifications are also allowed for other reasons, such as the addition or removal of a child or terms of medical support from the order.
Experts recommend that a request for a modification be made as soon as it is needed, in order to avoid excessive unpaid amounts. These unpaid child support payments are not eligible for bankruptcy discharge, so they will need to be paid even if the order is modified eventually. Additionally, parents are encouraged to continue making the payments even when a child support modification is sought.
A family law attorney may be helpful in reviewing a client's case and determining whether a support modification request is in order. This can be very helpful when financial circumstances such as a job loss or unexpected medical bills make the existing order difficult or impossible to comply with.
Source: Florida Department of Revenue, "How to Change a Support Order", October 30, 2014