It is always nice to get a raise at work, get a nice tax return or be the recipient of some other financial windfall, but life is not always so rosy. A major financial setback can easily cause you to fall behind on your bills, including your child support obligations.
Fortunately, people whose financial situation is on the downswing can attempt to have their child support order modified, making payments more affordable while still providing their child with the financial support they need.
What is a change in circumstances?
To modify a child support order in Florida, there must be a substantial, permanent and involuntary change in circumstances.
If it has been less than three years since the child support order was entered or last modified, a change is substantial if it means the current support order must go at least 15% up or 15% down, but in either case cannot go under $50.
If it has been more than three years since the child support order was entered or last modified, a change is substantial if it means the current support order go at least 10% up or 10% down, but in either case cannot go under $25.
A change is permanent if it lasts at least six months, although this is determined on a case-by-case basis. A change is involuntary as long as it came along through no fault of your own.
Note that either parent can pursue a modification of a child support order to have the amount paid either go up or down. Also, you have to keep paying what you currently owe in child support while the modification is pending.
We cannot predict the future, and sometimes the future brings financial hardship. It is good to know that there is an opportunity to make paying child support easier when times are tough.