When are you allowed to file for child support modification? What changes in your situation are important and relevant enough to make a change in your support? It’s important for both parents to be aware of when they can change their support. According to the law, if there is a huge change in circumstances, such as a significant change in income, health insurance, or emancipated child, you can request a child support modification. Additionally, this is acceptable in the eyes of the court too.
- Income is the primary cause for child support modification
Finances are the most common reason for a change in child support. An increase in salary for either parent will mean an increase in the parent’s level of help. Furthermore, a decrease in income means a decrease of support. In Florida specifically, you can file for a child support modification petition if your income changes by either 15% or $50. You need to file a Supplemental Petition to alter their child support level. A supplemental petition is similar to the original case and will take time to process.
- Parenting time calls for change in child support
If you spend more or less time with your children than you are supposed to, you can request a change in child support. Consequently, the courts can alter the number of days you spend with your children. For example, one parent can have two-hundred sixty-five nights assigned by the courts, while the other parent has the remaining days. But, if the actual split of the days is three-hundred for one parent, the courts can recalculate child support based on this new pattern.
There is one technicality in Florida about the number of nights spent with one parent. If a parent has less than seventy-three days with their children, approximately twenty percent, and the actual pattern follows accordingly, then child support will not vary even if the number of nights is not consistent.
- Expense increases need to be met with support
Certain fluctuations in child-related expenses may warrant revisions in child support. These costs are very limited.
Daycare costs an arm and a leg. Any variance in daycare fees can raise a need for a modification in child support. If one of the parents has a hard time fulfilling their responsibility in managing their share of financial costs, they can ask the court to include these costs in child support. Again, this depends on the situation of the parent and corresponds to their employment. If the parent is a stay-at-home parent, they will not qualify for financial assistance with daycare expenses.
Alimony and child support are always interconnected issues. More alimony means less child support and visa verse.
If payroll taxes have a nominal impact, the resulting net income may result in more or less child support. One scenario would be a parent moving to a different area where there are both state and city taxes. These taxes may negatively affect net income, which would subsequently impact the amount of child support.
Health Insurance for Child
Most child support calculations in Florida include the cost of health insurance for children. Each parent pays a proportional amount their net income. However, if health insurance premiums change, this may require a support modification.
- Modifying past child support for adults
You can’t change already incurred expenses that you owe for child support. Even after you successfully make a modification, what you owe is what you owe. Any adjustments will come into effective on the filing date of the Supplemental Petition. So, if something comes up and you need to modify your support, you must do this as soon as possible to limit the ramifications on your bank account.
One exception to this rule, as there are always exceptions, is when the children become adults. It doesn’t make sense for a parent to pay for expenses for their offspring if they are adults. Of course, the most proactive way to handle this would be to file your case before your children become adults.
- Job loss impacts child support
Losing a job happens more often than you think, and supports a case for modification in child support. If the parent loses a job unintentionally, that parent may try to play the system and not apply for jobs until their child support case has closed. These circumstances can cause complexities in the case and may require investigation.
Florida Disbursement Unit
In any child support modification case, you must have a direct order to the Florida Disbursement Unit correcting child support arrears and set up proper amounts for the future. If you don’t take care in doing this properly the first time, you will run into many unwanted problems down the road.
Child support orders can take thousands of dollars from one parent and put them in the hands of the other. Because of this, you will want to ask your Fort Lauderdale family law attorney for help. For more information, reach out to Alan Braverman.