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When circumstances change, child support orders may be altered

Parents with cases within the Florida Child Support Program can seek an alteration of the child support agreement under certain circumstances. Modifications may be granted if the person receiving child support is doing so through the program, the support has not been modified within the past three years and circumstances for one or more parent has changed.

A modification request must be completed through the Florida Child Support Program, and it can take 60 days for the initial application to process. The application is reviewed and the Program will take court action if it deems a modification is warranted. Following a decision by the Program to take action, a modification can take 30 days or more, regardless of whether the other parent is agreeable to changes. Court costs may be associated with changes to the modification.

Some factors can slightly alter the way the modification review works, such as the fact that one parent is incarcerated. For parents who are not paying or receiving child support through the Florida Child Support Program, modifications to an agreement can still occur. In such cases, parents may need to return to court to amend previous agreements.

Agreements that are amended outside of the Program are easier to deal with when both parents agree to a child support modification in advance. Then, it becomes a simple matter of legal paperwork. If both parents don't agree, one parent may still seek legal assistance in bringing the matter before the court. If the parent is able to prove that situations have changed significantly, a judge may order an amendment. This is especially true if the amendment will still reflect the best interests of the child or children while keeping current parental resources and capabilities in mind.

Source: Office of Child Support Enforcement, "Changing a Child Support Order in Your State" Sep. 10, 2014

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