Your initial child support order may not cover your child’s needs as he or she enters school and becomes a teenager. When circumstances change, either parent can request a child support modification in Florida.
Learn how to start this process and what to expect from the court during modification.
Understanding the legal requirements
To receive a modification, you must show that the family’s situation has significantly changed. These changes may include:
- A change in either parent’s finances. The court will grant modification only if these changes will result in an increase or decrease of at least $50 or 15% of the support amount (whichever is greater).
- A change in expenses. Florida allows this type of modification for a change in the cost of daycare, spousal support, child support for a child from another relationship, payroll taxes, or health insurance for the child or the parent.
- A change in parenting time. This often occurs when the actual number of overnights each parent spends with the child diverts from the number of overnights stated in the original parenting plan. For this type of modification, each parent must have the child overnight at least 20% of the time.
File the Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support with the court that issued your original support order. You must also serve the child’s other parent with a copy of this petition. Depending on the procedures of your local court, the judge may refer you to mediation or schedule a hearing. In both cases, each parent must provide full financial disclosure to support a modification decision.
The court will investigate the circumstances of your case. For example, if a parent lost his or her job, the state must determine whether the loss was voluntary or involuntary. The judge will also verify that a change in child support serves your child’s best interests. Depending on the evidence provided by each parent, the judge will either retain the existing custody order or approve the requested modification, which becomes legally binding.