Your child support obligations are not just a suggestion. They carry the full weight of a family court order, which means that you could face legal consequences if you fall behind. The state of Florida could take money from your paycheck, intercept your tax return or even block your application or renewal for a license or passport. Your ex can seek enforcement efforts, or the state may take action on its own once a parent has missed several weeks of payments.
Rather than waiting until you face those enforcement-related penalties to change your child support order, it is typically a better approach to modify your support requirements as soon as you realize you will struggle to meet them.
How the modification process works
When there is a substantial change in your family or financial circumstances, you can file a motion with the Florida family courts to change your support obligations. For example, if you get laid off or fired, you can file a modification request shortly thereafter. Although the state will not eliminate your support obligations even if your income drops to zero, they may still reduce how much you owe.
The less you go into arrears, the easier it will be for you to catch back up and avoid possibly aggressive enforcement actions in the future. Sometimes, your ex might even agree to cooperate to reduce how much you pay in support to a more manageable amount until you can get back to better-paying work.
Recognizing the importance of a timely child support modification can help you protect yourself when you share custody of your children.