Child support modification: Read this before filing a petition

The marital break down you experienced with your former spouse before you divorced has nothing to do with your children, meaning your divorce was not their fault. Like most Florida parents who have gone through similar situations, you may realize this but find it challenging to convince your children of the same. That's because kids often internalize their parents' issues. However, with love and support, you can help your children cope and understand that they did not cause the situation.

You no doubt did your best during divorce proceedings to make sure your children's best interests were a central focus. As the first months played out following the court's order for you to pay child support, you may have been quite pleased with how things were going. Your kids seemed to be adjusting well and you were making payments on time. In fact, even your ex seemed satisfied with the situation, that is, until you changed jobs and determined your payments were no longer feasible.

Financial trouble doesn't make you a bad parent

You are definitely not the first Florida parent to request child support modification. The court typically tries to decide a fair amount of child support by determining what type of lifestyle children would have had if their parents had stayed married. This is not the only determining factor but one of many that the court takes into consideration. However, just because something happens that causes you to be unable to keep up with your current payment schedule does not mean you no longer have your kids' best interests in mind.

Change of income may impact your ability to pay

If you lose your job or still have a job but incur a reduction in pay, it can immediately and negatively affect your ability to pay child support on time. In addition to supplementing your children's financial care, you still have bills to pay and expenses to meet in your own life. By asking the court to modify your payments, you may be able to overcome your current financial challenges while continuing to provide for your children.

Your household family size has grown

As time went on after your divorce, you may have entered a new relationship and, perhaps, married again. Your new family dynamic may include children, which may in turn have caused an increase in your monthly household expenses. Expanding your family size does not mean you do not want to provide for the children you had with your former spouse; it might simply mean there's only so much money to go around and you need to make a few adjustments to meet all your obligations.

The court must approve a proposed child support change

Whether the court grants a temporary or permanent modification depends on several factors. The judge reviewing your case will take into consideration the state guidelines, the needs of the children from your former marriage, your current financial obligations and the income in both households. The bottom line is that you must continue to meet your current payments unless and until the court says otherwise. Not doing so can land you in a heap of legal trouble. Many Florida parents seek experienced guidance to avoid facing charges of child support delinquency.

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