Child support can have a significant financial impact on both the parent who pays support and the parent who receives it. When your child support order places an unfair burden on you or it has simply been a long time since you entered it, it may be time to contact a Boca Raton child support modification lawyer.
A legal representative could guide you on how much the new support amount might be and help you show the court how circumstances have changed substantially. The court uses a complex formula to calculate child support, making it critical to seek guidance from an experienced attorney. A legal advocate could include all required income and allowable deductions in the calculation to ensure the court calculates a correct and fair support amount.
When Can a Parent Modify Child Support?
There is no mandatory waiting period for a child support modification in the state’s circuit courts. Either party can apply for a modification of child support, but the court must find a substantial change of circumstances since the parents entered the previous order.
Regardless of the reason for changing support, the change must be substantial enough to result in a 15% or $50 increase or decrease in support, whichever is greater. For example, when a current support order requires payments of $1000 per month, the modification must be significant enough to either decrease support to $850 or increase it to $1150. The court will not allow a change resulting in a smaller adjustment, per Florida Statutes § 61.30(1)(b). This prevents parties from returning to court frequently for minor changes in income or circumstance.
It is critical to file a modification action as soon as possible after a change in circumstance arises. Per Florida Statutes § 61.14(1)(a), the court may only enter an order retroactively to the date of the action filing. When a substantial change occurs, the court will not back-date the new order to the date of the change but to the date the court action began. A knowledgeable attorney in Boca Raton could assess your change to determine if it could result in a child support modification.
Substantial Change in Circumstances
The court will only modify a child support order if it finds a change in circumstances or the financial ability of any party. The change does not necessarily need to be to your own circumstances; it could also be a change in the circumstances of the child or other parent.
The most common change in circumstances is a change in the income of either person. A change in employment could cause this, but it also frequently arises when alimony changes or ends, impacting both parents’ incomes. It is a good idea to meet with a Boca Raton lawyer to determine if a change will be substantial enough before seeking a modification in child support.
Changes in income must not be due to voluntary unemployment or underemployment. When a party has become unemployed due to circumstances beyond their control, they must prepare to explain their situation to the court.
Changes in income are only one circumstance that will allow the court to modify child support. A change in the circumstances of the child, for example, a severe illness that will require significant expense, could be a reason to modify. Changes in the amount of time a child spends with each parent or a change in family expenses are other reasons for a modification. Legal counsel is the best person to determine when a specific situation qualifies for a support modification.
Contact a Boca Raton Child Support Modification Attorney
Contact a Boca Raton child support modification lawyer when you are seeking a change to your current support order. Whether it is due to a support order being too low or too high, an attorney could help you determine if a modification is an option and help you calculate a new support amount based on your current circumstances.