Florida law states that both parents have a duty and obligation to support their children, during a marriage and after a divorce. A specific process is used in determining the amount of child support which is paid from one parent to the other. The determination of child support is one of the most critical decisions made during the divorce process. Many parents believe that the nonresidential parent has a responsibility to provide child support. However, this process is much more complicated.

Calculating Florida Child Support

First, the parents or the court will decide on which parent will be the majority parent, or which parent the child will be living with. Then, the income of each parent will be measured by taking the parent’s gross income and subtracting their allowable deductions. These allowable deductions include:

  • Daycare costs
  • Health insurance for the children
  • Health insurance deductibles and non-covered medical expenses
  • Federal, state, and local tax deductions
  • Mandatory retirement payments
  • Child and spousal support that is being paid for a previous marriage
  • Union Dues
  • Federal insurance payments

Also, the number of children the parents have from this marriage will be factored into child support. From there a percentage of the net income will be allocated, to be paid by each parent. Once the numbers have been computed, it will be determined if the primary parent will receive overnight visits with the children throughout a calendar year. If so, the amount of time-sharing will lead to an adjustment of the amount of child support.

In general, there are formulas, which are used in the state of Florida that will calculate the final amount of child support. However, the Florida court does have discretion in the manner. They consider whether a child needs special psychological, mental or dental care and whether outside sources of income will be provided for the child. Retroactive child support can be determined for the time parents were separated and when the child support order went in effect.

What About a Modification of Child Support?

Parents often wonder about modifications of Florida child support, whether it’s the parent receiving child support or the parent who is paying the child support. Florida, child support laws, provide either parent to file for a modification of child support at any time. The new child support would change by at least $50 or 15 percent. A petition would be dismissed if the modification did not change by these amounts.

A Significant Change of Circumstances and Child Support Modification

When a parent is petitioning for a change in child support, the only basis for this change is the date of the Final Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage. This change must be involuntary. Meaning the person who quits their job to avoid paying their child support cannot qualify for a modification of child support. The change of circumstances must be legitimate and must be recognized as unforeseen. Losing a job through no fault of your own, getting a better job, taking on a more significant role with the child or even a change in employee benefits could qualify as a material change in circumstances.

Requesting a Decrease in Child Support

If the paying parent is asking for a decrease in child support, the following list of factors will be considered by the court:

  • If you have recently lost your job and there is no expectation of you obtaining comparable employment any time shortly.
  • If you have otherwise lost a source of income which was a factor in the determining the amount of child support you were required to pay.
  • If the parent you’re paying child support too has had a drastic change in their circumstances; which results in more money to be made on their part.
  • The children to who you’re paying child support for has experienced a decrease in their expenses such as ending daycare or moving from a private school to a public one.
  • The amount of time you spend with your children has increased since the original child support calculation.

There could potentially be other circumstances which would allow a parent to qualify for a reduction in the amount of monthly child support as well. The experienced team at Konicek Law can help you decide on whether your specific situation applies whenever you choose to ask for a modification in child support.

Requesting an Increase in Child Support

As a parent who receives child support, there are several circumstances which you could qualify to receive a modification in your child support.

  • If you have recently lost your job and there is no expectation of you obtaining comparable employment any time shortly.
  • If you have otherwise lost a source of income which was a factor in the determining the amount of child support you were required to pay.
  • If the parent paying child support has had a drastic change in their circumstances; which results in more money to be made on their part.
  • Your child’s expenses have increased since the original agreement of child support.
  • The amount of time in which the other parent was initially scheduled (overnight visits) has decreased.

Changes in Expenses or Income as a Reason for Modification

While there is a vast amount of reasons for why a modification of Florida child support could be granted, the most common causes include:

Changes in daycare expenses often lead to a necessary change in child support payment. Since daycare expenses are relatively expensive. For example, when the child starts school, then the loss of that expense must be taken into consideration. Or, the parent receiving child support may have worked which would require the younger child to have daycare, making the parent’s expenses increase significantly. From there, the court will offset the new wages earned by the parent returning to work with the daycare expenses.

Spousal support is another factor which can trigger a modification of child support payments. This typically happens when a temporary or defined-amount of spousal support ends. Usually, more spousal support paid or received results in less child support paid.

Although most Florida child support calculations consider the cost of health insurance for the child, health insurance premiums can change drastically. These changes require a change in child support payments, which could result in a child support modification.

Changing the Amount of Child Support

If you feel like you have a case for a child support modification, then reach out to Konicek Law. Our experienced lawyers will guide you every step of the way. We will file a petition to modify your child support which outlines the basic facts of your case. Then, the appeal will be served to the other parent via a sheriff or private process server. Once the petition has been served, you will be scheduled a hearing and may be asked to produce a financial affidavit. You will then have to provide documents such as income records, proof of loss of income, or a new parenting plan.

Since a child support order can shift large amounts of money from one parent to another, modifications of child support should be taken very seriously. At Konicek Law, our team of highly knowledgeable lawyers know how to handle these situations and will make sure you receive the help you need.

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