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Baginski Brandt & Brandt Port St. Lucie Criminal & Family Attorneys
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Changes in Child Support

Once a child support order has been issued by the court, is it possible to get the amount of support that must be paid changed?

When Is A Change In Child Support Possible?

Under certain circumstances it is possible to modify the child support amount. There are various methods available to do this. Having the parents agree on the change is the easiest method. However, even agreed-upon changes must be approved by the order before this change is enforceable.

Example: If the parent paying support loses his job and then goes to the custodial parent and asks if he can skip a few months of paying child support before finding a new job, this temporary modification could be approved by the custodial parent. However, if she decides later that she wants the unpaid support, the court might rule in her favor if the change was never formally approved.

How Do I Change The Circumstances Of My Child Support

If there isn’t any voluntary agreement in place, then the party that wants the change is required to file a Modify Support petition. A court hearing will be held where the two sides will present the reasons why they support or oppose the modification. This is usually done with counsel. Usually the request will not be granted by the court unless there is a change in circumstances that is fairly significant to justify the change, like a significant decrease or increase in one of the parents income, change in the child’s needs or a job change. If there is a change in child support laws, that might justify changing orders that have previously been issued. The Child Support Guidelines in Florida can form the basis for making changes to child support. So if originally the parents agreed to a certain amount that was what the guidelines allowed for, the guidelines could become the basis for changing the child support whether financial circumstances have changed or not. Raising the amount of child support could be warranted by cost of living going up. However, these types of periodic increases are usually provided for as part of the original order. This prevents the parties from needing to make another court appearance every time there are significant changes to cost of living.

What Can Change Your Child Support

The child support order can have other anticipated changes provided for, including a reduction when each child is emancipated, an increase for a child entering college and other changes that are anticipated that can impact the ability to pay child support.

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