Yes, child support is always modifiable under Florida law, provided that certain qualifying circumstances are met.
Parents who are navigating through a divorce often worry about how the divorce will impact their children—both emotionally and financially.
As to the financial impact, divorcing parents should make sure that they understand the manner in which child support is calculated and the circumstances justifying a modification of child support (which may become necessary in the years following the entry of the final judgment of dissolution of marriage).
Child support is required, but is not fixed.
Under Florida law, both parents have an obligation to provide financial support for their children—it is mandatory and may not be waived by agreement. In fact, child support constitutes a child’s legal right to receive financial support from his or her parents.
Child support is a critical issue that must be addressed and resolved between the parties, or otherwise adjudicated by the Court, in every dissolution of marriage action that involves a minor child and in every paternity matter. Florida’s child support structure is guideline driven—the child support guideline amount presumptively establishes the amount that the judge shall order as child support.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, Florida law recognizes the unpredictability of life, and the possibility that circumstances may change after entry of a final judgment that may warrant a modification of the child support award.
When can a parent seek to modify child support?
Child support under Florida law is modifiable whenever there is a substantial change in circumstances and modification is found by the court to be in the best interests of the child(ren). A substantial change in circumstances may include, but is not limited to:
- A significant change in income of one or both parties;
- Substantial modifications to the timesharing schedule; and
- Substantial changes in the expenses/needs of the child(ren).
The parent seeking to modify child support bears the burden to prove that a substantial change in circumstances occurred. Additionally, in order for the change in circumstances to be “substantial,” it must be significant, material, involuntary and permanent in nature.