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How Do I File to Change My Child Support Order Amount?

motion to modify child support

Life changes. When your situation looks much different than it did when child support was first set, you may be able to get the amount modified. This involves filing paperwork called a petition to modify support.

At Vasquez de Lara Law Group, our attorneys deal with these types of cases all the time. Whether you’re requesting to increase or decrease your support payments, we’re here to support you during this transition. Here’s what to know.

Do I Qualify to Modify My Child Support Order?

Believe us, we understand life happens, and expenses change. You may desperately want to alter existing support amounts. But Florida doesn’t allow modifications without good cause. The court sets high bars.

To change existing child support agreements in Florida, you must prove substantial life changes. The parent seeking the modification carries the burden. Courts want evidence the changes are:

  • Permanent – Short-term issues don’t qualify. Must show impacts exceeding one year, causing ongoing financial shifts.
  • Involuntary – Can’t result from choices within your control like quitting a job or misconduct.
  • Substantial changes:
    • You need to show that circumstances have changed such that it would cause your ordered payment to change by at least 15% but not less than $50.

Courts won’t modify support orders just because you want to pay less. Florida requires you to prove major long-term changes significantly hurting your ability to keep paying the ordered amount.

It’s a strict rule. But it protects dependents counting on regular support.

Before we file to redo your order, our lawyers first double-check that your exact situation meets state modification laws. If your circumstances don’t match legal qualification criteria yet, you’ll waste time and money pursuing changes bound for denial.

How to Prepare the Petition to Modify Child Support in Florida

When your financial circumstances change substantially from when initial child support arrangements were set, you may have grounds to alter existing orders.

Preparing an effective child support modification petition in Florida involves strategic document preparation, financial disclosure, and understanding what qualifies as a significant change of circumstances.

Preparing the Paperwork

If we determine your changed situation meets the rules for modification, we start by completing the legal forms, including:

  • Fill out a petition officially requesting your order to be modified, showing your income drop and proposing lower support payments based on state calculator guidelines.
  • Gather concrete proof like employer or doctor letters backing up the major changes in earnings, health, or custody. Courts want outside confirmation.
  • Pay filing fees. Court costs apply to submit modification petitions, typically requiring prepayment unless financial hardship is proven to qualify for a fee waiver.

Lean on our experience submitting persuasive petitions, maximizing approval odds.

Informing the Other Parent

After filing, Florida requires telling the other parent about the modification case. We handle confirming legitimate notifications based on specific rules and through a certified process server. Documentation protects you.

Attending the Hearing

Eventually, a hearing gets scheduled, and a judge reviews both sides and makes a ruling. We’ll be right by your side to address any questions and translate legal jargon. Prior to the hearing date, we also compile extra evidence like updated financial statements further backing up your qualification for support order changes.

While stressful, let us shoulder burdens so you can confidently convey hardship when dealing with an overwhelming situation. Our goal is to show all involved how modified terms serve the children’s best interests through stabilizing tumult.

Enforcing the Updated Child Support Terms

If the court approves reduced support payments but then the other parent pays late, we act quickly. Depending on why delinquency happened, we have enforcement options like payment plans, suspending licenses, reporting to credit agencies, and garnishing wages.

The goal is compelling cooperation without overreacting but firmly insisting on upholding court orders. No one wants added disputes, but children must receive owed support even after modifications.

If you are facing issues getting child support paid on time, or you need help filing for a child support modification, contact our office today to explore possible enforcement actions. Schedule a consultation online to discuss your options.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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