Courts in Florida and around the country order noncustodial parents to pay child support to ensure that their children are properly cared for and do not become burdens on taxpayers. Child support awards are calculated based on the incomes of the parents involved and the custody arrangements they have worked out, and they may be modified either upward or downward when these situations change. In Florida, judges will only modify child support orders when doing so will change the monthly payment by at least 15% or $50, whichever is greater.
Changes in income or expenses
Child support orders are most commonly modified in Florida when the financial situations of one or both of the parents change significantly. While all income is taken into consideration when judges consider these issues, only certain expenses are. Judges will not order a child support modification because the noncustodial parent has moved into a more expensive apartment or taken out a car loan, but the courts may decide that a higher monthly payment is warranted when costs such as daycare expenses, health insurance premiums or other childcare-related expenses have risen.
Changes in custody arrangements
The amount a noncustodial parent must pay in child support is based partly on the custody arrangement they have made with the custodial parent. If the actual amount of time each parent spends with the child or children in question deviates from this arrangement, a family law judge in Florida could modify the child support order.
Petitioning the court
While the rules dealing with child support may be fairly straightforward, the process that parents must go through to obtain a modification is not. Experienced family law attorneys may help parents navigate this process by filing a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support and ensuring that it is properly served. Attorneys might also assist parents during child support mediation and advocate on their behalf in court.