Modification of Support in Florida
If you are making a support payment, alimony or child support, or possibly both, the support is generally modifiable so long as the modification is consistent with the law.
For child support, the court initially entering an order requiring one or both parents to make child support payments has continuing jurisdiction after the entry of the initial order to modify the amount and terms and conditions of the child support payments:If the modification is found by the court to be in the best interests of the child;
- When the child reaches majority;
- If there is a substantial change in the circumstances of the parties;
- If Florida Statute §743.07(2) applies (extension of support past majority if the child is dependent due to a mental or physical incapacity);
- When a child is emancipated, marries, joins the armed services, or dies.
Substantial Change in Circumstances Test
When seeking a modification, of alimony or child support, based on a substantial change in the circumstances, the Substantial Change in Circumstances test applies and states; that a change in circumstance must be significant, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature. When support is ordered, such changes in circumstances that would allow the court to modify support should demonstrate a substantial impairment in the ability to pay, or a substantial decrease in the need of the support.
Therefore, if you quit your job, you cannot expect the court to grant you a modification because your position is voluntary. Likewise, if you are fired from your job, you cannot expect the court to grant you a modification the next day. This would not be considered a permanent change in circumstances. The courts have ruled that for a particular change to be permanent it must be at least lasting a year. My advice, seek an attorney as soon as something happens. Let the attorney give you the advice that fits your particular situation.
Heavier Burden Test
As to child support only, I have seen agreements from a dissolution of marriage or from a paternity action where one person has agreed to pay child support over and above what is required in the child support guidelines. This is a special circumstance, as the courts would now require you to show that the change in circumstance and now there is a “heavier burden” test. As the amount of child support is based upon an agreement, a heavier burden is placed upon the person seeking in the modification then would normally be required if the amount of child support was consistent with the child support calculation, consistent with Florida Statute 61.30, when you entered into the agreement. So not only must a person’s ability to pay child support change, there must also be something else. The something else may be that at the time you enter into an agreement the child was attending day care, but now is not.