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How to Modify Florida Support Orders

A recent drug rehab stint by Brooke Mueller, the ex-wife of Charlie Sheen, has shone the spotlight on the potential bases for modifications of child support. Ms. Mueller apparently used her child support money to purchase drugs. While in rehab, her children remain in the care of Sheen’s other ex-wife, Denise Richards. Ms. Mueller’s mother is arranging to move in with her daughter in the hope that the judge will allow the troubled woman to retain custody of her children — as well as the $55,000 monthly child support payments from Sheen.

For the average Floridian, child support is calculated according to percentages set forth under the Florida Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines use the collective net income of both parents, with each parent paying their requisite share. Other financial calculations include medical and education expenses. One non-financial factor affecting the calculation is the amount of overnight stays each parent has with the child. If a shared parenting plan has a child staying with each parent 50 percent of the time, that may be a basis to reduce the amount of support being paid.

The court can also account for a child’s special needs, as well as those of children not incorporated in the original support order. Above all, children have an absolute, non-waiveable right to have their needs supported by both parents.

Either you or your ex-spouse can ask the court to modify child support if any of these reasons apply:

  • Three years have passed since your last support order
  • Your current support order will not expire within six months from the requested change
  • You can prove a substantial change in your life, financially and otherwise

For example, your child’s expenses may increase if they develop or manifest a disability. If you are presently paying more child support than you can afford, you may seek to reduce amounts previously paid towards your child’s now-improved medical condition. If you remarry, some courts may consider your new family obligations a good basis to cut the amount of support you pay for the children of your previous marriage. Other courts may see this as a deliberate choice to take on greater financial burdens, not as a basis to reduce your obligations.

There are countless reasons for modification. Contact Miller Morse Law PLLC for comprehensive divorce advice before pursuing a child support modification in Florida.

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