Why Your Child Support May Be Too High
Child support isn’t supposed to be a financial burden for parents, but is intended to require payments that are basically equivalent to what a parent would normally spend on a child’s upkeep if the parents had decided to remain together. Still, some parents may find it difficult to keep up with payments, whether because they have significant debts to pay off, are suddenly facing an unexpected illness or injury and can no longer work, or have become unemployed. Fortunately, parents who find themselves in this position can modify their child support awards, seeking a lower payment that is more manageable for them in their current financial position.
A Problem with the Original Order
Both of a child’s parents are obligated to support that child financially. When two parents have separate households, this usually results in one parent (typically the custodial parent) spending the money directly on the child, while the other parent supplements those costs by making a monthly child support payment. When determining the amount of the latter, courts look at both parents’ incomes, the child’s needs, the specific time-sharing agreement in place, and the number of children being supported. If someone’s payments have been too high from the get-go, then it’s possible that a mistake was made with the initial calculations. In these cases, the paying parent can seek a modification in court.
A Significant Life Change
Another reason that a parent’s child support payment could be too high is because he or she underwent a significant life change. Many of these changes will justify a change in child support, including:
- Semi-permanent job changes, like being laid off or demoted through no fault of the parent’s;
- The birth or adoption of another child, as child support awards are partly based on the total number of children being supported, so even if a parent has a child with a different partner, the court could take this into account when modifying support;
- The onset of a debilitating illness or injury, which makes it impossible for the parent to work or to earn the same income; or
- The child has started spending significantly more time with the paying parent.
These kinds of major events are often enough to warrant a modification of a child support award that has simply become too high for one parent to pay. It’s also important to note that significant changes to the other parent’s life could justify a similar support modification. For instance, the parent who receives child support may no longer require the same amount if he or she remarries or obtains higher earning employment. In these cases, a court could take these changes into account and modify an award, especially if the paying parent is having trouble meeting his or her obligations.
Call Today to Set Up a Free Consultation
Dedicated Florida child support modification lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. is here to help you navigate your own child support negotiations. To schedule a free consultation, set up a time with us online or call our office at 954-945-7591.