Child support is often a very contentious topic for the parties involved. If you’ve been paying a specific child support settlement for a while now, or if you’ve recently been brought to court to sign a child support agreement, know that it is possible to change the given amount.
Sometimes, the amount is not a feasible amount of money for you to pay, or sometimes you have concerns that the requested amount will not be used entirely for the child. Alternatively, if you are receiving child support, there may be a change in circumstances that demands an increase in payment.
These cases are not always cut and dried, though, so if you are seeking to change your child support agreement for any reason, it’s recommended that you seek the advice of a knowledgeable Florida child support lawyer.
Legitimate Reasons to Seek a Change in Child Support
If you have a real, legitimate reason for seeking a change to your child support agreement, these are generally met favorably in court. Wondering what qualifies as “legitimate”? Here are a few of the scenarios accepted in Florida courts:
- Your agreement doesn’t end for 6 months or more, and you meet one of other criteria. This means your case will be heard as soon as the courts can do so.
- Your case or agreement has not been reviewed or changed in over 3 years. Generally, an agreement only lasts about this long unless it’s considered a solid agreement and is believed to be one that will continue for the duration of the child’s minor years.
- There was a large life change, like loss of income, a death that affects your ability to provide, or the child’s needs increase (for example, for health needs). This means that you can no longer afford to pay child support, or may need to pay more in the event that you cannot care for the child on your given portion of custody.
- Requesting to reevaluate income. If you have not made more money since the first agreement, or if the other parent makes considerably more money, you can request that the courts reevaluate how much you still have to pay.
- You’ve forfeited parenting rights, or need to add another child to the agreement. If you forfeit rights, it means you do not pay child support but no longer have any rights to see the child. If you add another child, you will be increasing your payments monthly by a certain percent, as seen in the Florida law here.
- Increasing, adding, or removing medical support needs. This means that you may have to pay for insurance premiums, medical procedures, disability care, etc. Often, parents will re-negotiate agreements based on whether a child needs braces, surgery, etc. This is probably one of the most common re-negotiations that occur.
- Evaluating custody shares. If you seek more custody or personal responsibility for your child or chilpdren, you may owe less money in overall child support since you are financially supporting them while they’re in your custody.
What it comes down to is if there are concerns that you cannot pay child support for reasons that you can document, or if a change in circumstances necessitates more child support, a court will hear your case. Not sure if you have a case for a change in child support? Get in touch with an experienced child support attorney who can look at your specific circumstances and offer his or her professional opinion.