Messer & Messer Law Offices

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Can I modify a child support order?

The failure to pay child support is considered a crime in Florida, and there are various remedies available to the custodial parent for obtaining child support from the noncustodial parent. In addition to wage garnishment and liens, it may also be possible to get an arrest warrant issued against the parent who is supposed to be making the payment but has fallen behind. 

Rather than fall behind on payments or evade a serious legal responsibility, it may be a better approach to get a child support modification. Family law recognizes that life circumstances change and income and assets fluctuate along with it. Therefore, rather than create legal problems for oneself, one should consider petitioning the court for a modification. 

If the petitioning party can demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in their life, they may be able to obtain a modification. Examples of this can include a decrease in income or a loss of a job or the reduction of the child's expenses, such as the end of daycare. It may also be decreased if the receiving party has started making more money. However, modifications do not only work one way -- the child support order can also be modified to increase child support if the receiving party loses a job or their income, or the child's expenses increase due to some illness or other reasons. In these instances, the court can increase the child support to ensure that the children are provided for. 

In order to determine whether a modification is required, the court determines if the change in circumstances is voluntary or not. The factors considered can be difficult to prove, but an attorney may be able to explain the finer points of family law to the petitioning party. The obligation to pay child support should be taken seriously, and both parties should ensure the child support is benefiting the children. A modification that reflects a change in either party's circumstances can be one way to achieve it. 

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