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Can I change or modify a Florida child support order?

Yes, a parent ordered by court to pay child support can file a petition for modification of child support. It is not uncommon for child support disputes to arise, particularly if the parent ordered to pay has a substantial change in their earning capacity due to a loss of a job or some other circumstance. Typical reasons to file for modification include an increase or decrease in income, a change in the child's needs or the child becoming disabled. Either party can file a petition for modification of child support.

In Florida, child support amounts are determined by the court. In making the determination, the court takes into consideration several factors such as both parent's income and the child's needs. A child support order will specifically note the amount of child support, who will pay it, who gets it, when they will get it and how much. Thus, if a parent is requesting that the court change an existing child support order, then that parent must demonstrate that there is a substantial change in circumstances and that the support modification is in the best interests of the child.

The petition can be downloaded from the Florida Court website and can be filed electronically. It is important for the parent filing the petition to follow all the instructions closely and carefully, which is why a child support attorney can be a key resource at this time. The other party must be notified of the filing and they must be served. The other parent who has been served with papers usually has 20 days after successful service to answer.

The petition for modification of child support must be either typed or completed in black ink, must be signed in front of a deputy clerk or notary, and must be filed in the county where the original child support order was issued or entered. If the original child support was issued in another state, it may be helpful to check with family law attorney to find out where the petition should be filed.

Source: Florida Courts, "Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Support," Accessed August 10, 2015

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