Tampa Child Support Modification Lawyer
When divorcing couples are unable to come to an out-of-court agreement regarding child support, property division, and spousal maintenance, courts are required to step in and make these decisions on their behalf. Fortunately, when it comes to child support, parents have the option of modifying these court orders, but only if they can prove that a substantial change in circumstances has taken place. This can be a difficult standard to meet, so if you have been ordered to pay child support, but are no longer able to comply, it is important to speak with an experienced Tampa child support modification lawyer who can help you build a case.
When Can Child Support Awards be Changed?
Although Florida courts allow child support orders to be modified at a later date, parents are only able to do so if they can prove that a substantial change has occurred in the circumstances of either parent. What qualifies as a substantial change depends on the specific circumstances of each case. For instance, a change in income is often enough to satisfy this standard, as is a change in a parenting time schedule.
Change in Income
A change in income is perhaps the most common reason for modifying child support orders in Florida. The change can reflect either an increase or a decrease and can involve either the paying parent or the parent who receives support. There is also no minimum amount that an income must change before a party can file for modification. However, the revised incomes must result in a child support amount that increases or decreases by $50 or 15 percent, whichever is greater. For example, if child support was initially set at $1,000 a month, but the paying spouse lost his or her job and was unable to make the payments, the court might be willing to modify the amount, but only if the petitioning party could prove that based on their new income, the total owed in child support would be higher than $1,150 or lower than $850 a month. If this standard is met, the petitioner can file a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support with the court.
Substantial Change in Parenting Time
A change in parenting time can also support modification of a child support order. This is because courts now calculate child support based on actual parenting time as it is exercised by both parents, and not necessarily what is contained in the parenting plan. For instance, a parenting plan could state that one parent will have 265 overnight visits with the children, while the other spouse would get the remaining 100. If, however, one parent ended up keeping the child for over 300 nights, a court would be permitted to step in and recalculate support based on that pattern. The only exception to this rule is when the non-custodial parent has less than 20 percent of the overnight visits.
Call Today for Legal Assistance
Please contact one of the dedicated child support modification attorneys at The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group if you believe that your child support order should be changed. You can reach a member of our legal team 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 813-803-6518 or by sending us an online message.