Florida law permits a modification in the amount of child support payments, provided that the party requesting for the modification shows that there is a substantial change in circumstances since the date of the order setting the amount.
Florida courts have found that the loss of a job or changes in the parties’ income may qualify as a substantial change in circumstances, provided that the change is permanent in nature.
But what if you lose your job due to layoffs and business closures resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic?
I lost my job due to layoffs caused by the Coronavirus. Can I modify my child support payments?
We are currently dealing with lots of changes due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and many people have lost their jobs. This includes people who are required to pay child support.
This is a first for us all, and changes are happening every day. As of now, Florida courts do not consider the loss of employment due to the coronavirus to be enough to warrant a modification in child support. This is because the pandemic is not considered to be something permanent in nature.
However, there have been courts in Florida that have provided temporary relief to parents seeking a modification in child support payments due to a temporary life change.
For example, the First District Court of Appeals found that a former husband was entitled to an order temporarily reducing child support payments during the time it was reasonably necessary for him to re-establish himself after losing his job. See Manning v. Manning, 600 So. 2d 1274 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992).
One could make the same argument for seeking a temporary change in the amount of child support payments. But as of now, there is no court mandate that would permit a permanent reduction in child support obligations.
Courts are, however, abating child support enforcement actions in light of these circumstances.
It’s always best to try to work out the issues in your case with the other parent. A good suggestion may be to agree to a reduced child support amount for this time during the pandemic, where both parties can survive and essentially get through this situation.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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