Once established, you can change child support payments if certain criteria are met. In order to modify an existing child support obligation, the parent who wants to modify the amount needs to file a Petition for Modification. The Petition requires a showing of:
a substantial, material and unanticipated change of circumstances.
This is a high standard to meet. The Court has made it difficult on purpose. There are a large number of cases in the court system and if it were easy to modify, this would only clog the system further.
The standard is not easily defined but Florida statute does state that child support is always modifiable as long as the change would be at least $50 or 15% – whichever is greater.
If your income has changed and therefore, the child support guidelines warrant a modification, it is important to keep in mind that the change in income must be from the date that the child support obligation was established.
That means if you and your spouse get divorced and child support is established but then after your divorced your income goes up and then down, you will have to compare your income at the time child support was established to present.
If your income went down but is still higher than it was when child support was established, then the child support obligation is going to increase, not decrease.
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