Experienced Miami Attorneys Handle Child Support Modification
Trustworthy representation for parents requesting or opposing changes in support
Courts in Florida issue child support orders based on the family’s current circumstances: the finances of both parents, the number of children to be supported, the needs of the children and many other factors. However, every factor the court considers is subject to change. When a change is substantial, the law allows the court to revisit the question of child support and consider whether to modify the amount. At Rafool, PLLC, we frequently represent child support obligors and recipients who either want to modify the order or oppose the other party’s petition for a modification. We provide robust representation to alert the court to all pertinent facts that favor your side of the argument. We go to court fully prepared, and we fight to deliver the outcome you and your children need.
Reasons for requesting a modification in child support
The tough interstate and federal enforcement of child support obligations actually grew out of a myth that there were overwhelming numbers of “deadbeat dads” who refused to pay child support after a divorce. Advocates for child support recipients effectively promoted that myth to convince state legislatures and the U.S. Congress to build a comprehensive plan for cooperative enforcement across various state and federal agencies. Many years later, we know that epidemic never really existed. The vast majority of unpaid child support then, as now, results from circumstances out of the obligor’s control, such as:
- Long-term disability due to accidental injury or illness
- Long-term unemployment
- Business failure
On the other hand, there are legitimate reasons for a recipient parent to request an increase in child support, such as:
- A child’s serious illness
- A child developing special needs
- The recipient parent’s long-term disability due to accidental injury or illness
- The recipient parent’s long-term unemployment
There are also positive reasons for requesting an increase. A child can exhibit a talent that needs special nurturing. And as children enter high school and college, educational costs increase.
Remedies for inability to pay child support
When there is an actual inability to pay the levels of child support ordered, the obligor has the right to petition the court to have the order modified. In Florida, a modification is available whenever there is a substantial change in economic circumstances that would reduce the support amount by at least 15 percent or $50 a month. However, a modification will not be retroactive, so the sooner an obligor gets the modification from the court, the better.
Many parents think they are being reasonable by working out an informal agreement to pay less support until the obligor’s financial difficulties clear up. Unfortunately, an informal agreement does not relieve the obligor of the legal duty to pay the whole amount. So, if the parents have a falling out, the recipient parent can go to court at any time and get an enforcement order for the unpaid amounts. While a negotiated agreement can be a sound basis for a court-ordered modification, it is always better to get a new support order than to rely on “an understanding.” If you feel that you and your child’s other parent can reach a settlement, our family law attorneys can help you get there and present the settlement to the court to make the change official.
Contact our Miami family law firm for advice on child support modification
If you are having trouble meeting your child support obligations, or you feel an increase is in order, the experienced family law attorneys at Rafool, PLLC, can guide you through the modification process. For trustworthy guidance, call us at (305) 567-9400 or contact our Miami office online to schedule an initial consultation.