Modification of Child Support
The trial court is justified in increasing child support if the needs of the child or the earnings of the supporting parent have increased since the judgment granting child support was entered.
Where a former spouse's ability to pay child support is shown to have increased, or the fact that the children have grown older and the cost of living has risen, establishing an increased need is often founded.
The increase in the children's needs must be balanced against the relative ability of the parents to provide for them, and where a change has occurred which creates a substantial imbalance between the child's needs and the parent's support capabilities, modification is required.
Florida courts require a material change in circumstances to justify modification of child support. The proposed change must also be in the best interest of the child. That standard limits protracted litigation in this area and also means minor changes or hope for improvement in circumstances by changing custody will not be enough. For example, many cases have held continued bickering of parents or their failure to properly communicate do not constitute a material change in circumstances warranting modification of custody. However, one recent decision did find sufficient change.
Support payments may be modified only as to installments accruing after the party moving for modification has given due notice.
Where petitioner sought modification of divorce decree to compel ex-spouse to support the parties' mentally disabled child after she attained majority; the petition adequately asserted a "change in circumstances" based on the child's continuing handicap after attaining majority; however, it may not have been necessary to plead a "change in circumstances" under this section since there may be a substantive obligation to support a mentally disabled child in 750 ILCS 5/513, unrelated to the terms of any prior divorce decree.
Child support payments may be modified only as to installments accruing after the party moving for modification has given due notice.
A modification for child support 20 years after the divorce could not be applied retroactively.
The question of whether modification of child support should be retroactive is within the discretion of the trial court.
The attorneys at Fernandez Law Group always represent the best interests of our clients and if you have any questions about modification of child support or are facing a divorce, we suggest you
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Content authored by Frank Fernandez