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How Does Disability Alter Child Support Payments?


If a parent suffers an injury or illness after his or her divorce has already been finalized, then his or her established child support payments could be subject to amendment. If you have questions about whether your own disability could impact your child support obligations, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced child support lawyer who can assist you.

The Effects of Disability on Child Support Obligations  

When a person suffers a disability, he or she may not be capable of working full time for months or even years. In these cases, living on a fixed income could make it nearly impossible to keep paying the same amount in child support. Fortunately, parents who are injured or diagnosed with a serious medical condition and who cannot work as a result, are permitted to petition the courts for a change in their child support obligation based on hardship. If successful, the disabled parent could be required to pay significantly less in monthly payments, although he or she could also be required to make those payments up at a later date if the disability is temporary.

Modifying a Child Support Award  

Disability often leaves the afflicted party with a much lower income than when he or she was able to work full time. This can make it difficult, if not impossible, for disabled parties to pay child support as ordered by the court, so it is important for these individuals to petition the court for an amended order based on hardship and a substantial change in circumstances. It is generally much easier to convince a court that a child support award should be modified if the petitioner is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as this provides proof of disability and a lower income. However, it’s important to note that while Florida does not typically garnish disability payments to pay child support, it does often take a portion of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) checks to pay for child support obligations if a disabled parent falls behind on payments.

Successful petitioners who are able to have their child support payments reduced could be given a temporary modification, in which case they will be required to go back to paying the previously set amount after a certain amount of time. Alternatively, and in more serious cases where a disability is expected to be permanent, a court could be willing to order that a child support award be permanently altered. In either case, a court will not actually make a change until the disabled party submits a petition, making it especially important for these individuals to speak with an attorney as soon as they become aware of their illness or injury.

Call Today for a Free Consultation  

To schedule a free case evaluation with dedicated Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A., please call 954-945-7591. A member of our legal team is standing by to help you through each step of your case, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online today.



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