A thought may exist in the minds of many in Plantation that child support is a method through which an embittered divorcee can get back at his or her ex-spouse. Child support is not meant to be punitive; rather, it is to ensure that the children that a divorced couple shares have sufficient resources to meet their needs. Yet such resources can only be provided when they are available to the one obliged to pay them. If and when a parent obligated to pay his or her child support sees his or her circumstances change, he or she can petition to have the agreement modified.
The question then becomes what constitutes a change? Rather than being left up to subjective opinion, the law has defined when a change is sufficient to justify a child support modification. According to Section 61.30(1)(b) of the Florida state statutes, the difference between one’s existing monthly obligation and that which one’s finances following a life or employment change would dictate must be greater than either $50 or 15 percent (whichever is greater) in order for the court to consider a modification. It should be noted that this does not only apply to cases where one’s monthly income is reduced. An increase in pay or other financial windfall could also justify an increase in his or her child support obligation.
A dramatic change in one’s finances is not the only reason why the court may consider a child support modification. The Florida Department of Revenue lists the following as circumstances that may warrant a change in child support:
- A child being removed (or added) from the child support order
- Extending the order beyond the age of majority
- Changes in a child’s need for medical support
All changes must be approved by the court before becoming effective.