Downward Modification of Child Support and Temporary or Emergency Reduction In Child Support

West Palm Beach Modification of Child Support Attorney

This article discusses the downward modification of child support in post judgment divorce and paternity proceedings. Any payer under a current child support order may seek downward modification of that order. Florida law provides several grounds for downward modification:

  • If it is found necessary by the court in the best interest of the child;
  • the child reaches majority;
  • the child is emancipated, marries joins the Armed Forces or dies; or
  • there is a substantial change in circumstances of the parties

To justify a downward modification of child support, the payer must establish a substantial change in circumstances that is material, involuntary, and permanent in nature. In general, in order for a court to order a downward modification of child support the payers lessened ability to earn the same income must be involuntary. If the payer did not quit his job or cause his own firing he could obtain a downward modification. However, the court will in some cases overlook the voluntary nature of the payers financial condition when this in the best interest of the child(ren) to do so. For example, if the payer decided to attend college in order to obtain a better paying job and career the court could allow the payer's child-support to be reduced while attending school. The factors to be considered would be the age of the child and the increased income that is expected after the parent completes the further training or education; i.e. Will there be a significant increase in the payers ability to pay, and for how many years will the child benefit from this increased support? There must be a change in the payers ability to pay for downward modification to be granted.

With over four decades of experience in modifying child-support, the law offices of attorney Stephen J. Press will carefully review your situation.

Permanent Change

If a payer seeks to decrease child support based on a decreased ability to pay, the decrease must be significant, material and involuntary. The Florida child-support statute does not define permanent change. However, the courts have decided that a showing of a substantial change in circumstances for one year or more constitutes a change of sufficient permanency to rent a downward modification. The requirement that the change of circumstances is permanent does not require a showing that the change is forever. That would be an impossible burden because no one can testify to the future.

Emergency or temporary reduction in child-support

In this economy payers may find themselves without a job and on extended unemployment through no fault of their own. In one case the court held that the firing of former husband and his subsequent acceptance of a lower paying job did not demonstrate that the reduction in his income was permanent. The court, however, ruled that the former husband was entitled to "emergency" or "temporary" relief until he could reestablish himself. Therefore in an appropriate case a payer they obtain a temporary reduction in child-support even if his reduction in income is not permanent. There can be factual situations where a permanent change can be shown immediately. A fact intensive analysis is necessary in each case to determine whether a payer qualifies for a permanent or temporary reduction in child support.

Contact a West Palm Beach divorce and family law attorney

The law offices of West Palm Beach divorce of family law attorney, Stephen J. Press is highly experienced in post judgment modification cases. We are dedicated to rights with professional excellence. Please contact us at 561-833-2772 or contact us online for a free consultation.