Reducing Child Support
Reducing Child Support in FloridaIf you want to reduce your Florida child support payments, it's important to understand the process and criteria. In Florida, child support is determined by state guidelines, which consider both parents' incomes, the number of children, and the time-sharing schedule. Here are some ways you may be able to reduce child support in Florida:
- Request a modification: If there has been a significant change in your financial circumstances since the original order was established, you may be able to request a modification of your child support order.
- Improve your time-sharing arrangement: If you have more overnights with your children, your child support payments may be reduced, as the amount of support is partially based on the time-sharing schedule.
- Accurate income reporting: Ensure both parents' incomes are reported accurately. If the other parent has a higher income than originally reported, it could reduce your child support payments.
- Consider other children: If you have other children for whom you are financially responsible, this may be considered when determining your child support payments.
- Unemployment or underemployment: If you are involuntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court may consider this when determining child support.
- Mediation or negotiation: If both parties can agree on a reduced child support payment through mediation or negotiation, the court may approve the agreement. We see better results with private mediators than those provided by the court.
- Legal representation: Hiring an experienced Jacksonville child support attorney can help you navigate the child support process and ensure that your rights are protected.
If you are interested in pursuing any of the mentioned strategies to reduce child support in Florida, you should take the following steps:
- Review your current child support order: Understand the details of your current order, including the amount of support, the frequency of payments, and the time-sharing schedule. This information will help you determine discrepancies or whether a modification is warranted.
- Document changes in circumstances: If significant changes in your financial situation, such as a job loss, reduced income, or increased expenses, gather documentation to support your claims. This may include pay stubs, bank statements, and bills.
- Keep track of your time with your children: Maintain a detailed record of the time you spend with your children, including overnights and any additional expenses you incur. This information can be valuable when seeking a modification based on changes in the time-sharing schedule.
- Gather information about the other parent's income: If you suspect the other parent's income has increased, try to gather evidence to support this claim. This might include social media posts, mutual acquaintances, or public records.
- Consult with a family law attorney: Contact a qualified Jacksonville family law attorney to discuss your case and receive personalized guidance. They can help you understand your options, navigate the legal system, and represent your interests in court.
- File a petition for modification: If your attorney advises you to pursue a modification of your child support order, you will need to file a petition with the court. This process typically involves completing the required forms, providing supporting documentation, and potentially attending a hearing.
- Engage in mediation or negotiation: If both parties are open to negotiating a new child support agreement, you can participate in mediation or alternative dispute resolution. A neutral third party, such as a mediator, can help facilitate these discussions and help you reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Below are some topics related to child support in Florida that have been litigated or discussed in the past. These examples may not be directly applicable to your situation, but they can give you an idea of the types of issues that have arisen in the context of child support in Florida:
- Modification of child support: Cases where one parent requests a modification of child support due to a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or a change in the time-sharing schedule.
- Imputed income: Cases in which a court imputes income to a parent who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed or when the court believes a parent is not accurately reporting their income.
- Deviation from guidelines: Cases where a court has decided to deviate from the standard child support guidelines, either increasing or decreasing the amount of support based on factors like extraordinary medical expenses or special needs of the child.
- Retroactive child support: Cases involving the establishment of child support arrears or determining the amount of retroactive child support owed when a support order is established after the child's birth.
- Enforcement of child support orders: Cases in which a parent seeks to enforce an existing child support order, potentially involving wage garnishment, license suspension, or other enforcement mechanisms.
- Paternity disputes: Cases in which the paternity of a child is disputed, which can impact child support obligations.
- Termination of child support: Cases in which a parent seeks to terminate their child support obligation due to the child's emancipation, adoption, or other qualifying circumstances.
Below are some examples of Florida case law related to child support. Please note that these cases may not directly apply to your situation, and you should consult with a Jacksonville family law attorney for specific guidance on your case.
- Finley v. Scott, 707 So. 2d 1112 (Fla. 1998): This case affirmed that the court has the authority to modify child support orders when there is a substantial change in circumstances, such as a change in the parties' incomes or the child's needs.
- Wade v. Hirschman, 903 So. 2d 928 (Fla. 2005): This case established that in determining child support, the court should consider both parents' incomes, including any imputed income, and the time-sharing schedule and apply the statutory guidelines.
- Department of Revenue v. Jackson, 846 So. 2d 486 (Fla. 2003): This case clarified that the court has the authority to establish retroactive child support for a period of up to 24 months before the filing of a petition for support, taking into consideration the obligor's ability to pay during that period.
- Bowen v. Bowen, 471 So. 2d 1274 (Fla. 1985): This case held that a court may deviate from the statutory child support guidelines if it explains the reasons for the deviation and if the deviation is in the best interest of the child.
- Rosen v. Rosen, 696 So. 2d 697 (Fla. 1997): This case clarified that a court might consider a parent's voluntary unemployment or underemployment when determining child support and may impute income based on the parent's employment history, qualifications, and prevailing wages in the community.