Child Support Modification
Florida Statutes Section 61.14(1) authorizes a modification when “the circumstances or the financial ability of either party changes or the child who is a beneficiary of an agreement or court order as described herein reaches majority after the execution of the agreement or the rendition of the order.” Pursuant to this section, finding that medical insurance is reasonably available or that the child support guidelines in Florida Statute Section 61.30 may constitute changed circumstances may support a case for modification. If application of the child support guidelines results in a change of the child support amount by at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater, than this constitutes a substantial change of circumstances. However, it should be noted that this does not apply to a downward modification of support set by agreement, without a showing of substantial change of circumstances.
Florida Statutes Section 61.13(1)(a) establishes three grounds for child support modification:
- When the modification is found necessary by the court and is in the best interests of the child.
- When the child reaches majority.
- When there is a substantial change in the circumstances of the parties
However, the party seeking change in the amount of child support has the burden of proving a substantial change of circumstance which is significant, material, involuntary and permanent in nature. The “substantial change” may be due to either the child’s needs or either of the parent’s increase or decrease in income.
Effect of Unemployment on Payor
Temporary involuntary unemployment may be the basis for an Order temporarily suspending alimony and child support, especially where the evidence supports a finding that the payor is diligently seeking re-employment so that the unemployment should most likely be temporary.
In these cases, the support arrears should not continue to accrue.
Generally, the Court will grant a temporary suspension of alimony when the payor has suffered a reduction in income without deliberately seeking to avoid paying alimony and is acting in good faith to return the income to its previous level.
Disestablishment of Paternity
Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 742.18, a man whose paternity has been established by Court order or operation of law may seek to disestablish paternity and terminate a previously established child support obligation, if he is not the biological father of the minor child. There are certain requirements and procedures which must be followed to successfully disestablish paternity.