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When parents can't afford child support

Child support orders in Florida are typically based on the income of the non-custodial parent. However, many people experience serious changes to their financial situation after a child support order is already in place. Some believe that people fall behind on child support because they don't care about their kids, but many actually struggle to make ends meet and cannot afford the monthly payments. When people lose their jobs, become disabled or move out of state, they may face difficulties keeping up with their mandated support payments. As a result, they may face wage garnishment or even a threat of jail.

However, there are actions that people can take to help mitigate the effects of an excessively high child support assessment. Parents can file for a child support modification due to the changes in their economic circumstances. People can contact the Child Support Enforcement Office to prepare to file a formal motion for modification. Because child support orders are based on income and assets, they should reflect a sum that is within the capacity of the non-custodial parent to pay. Parents can protect themselves financially and legally by seeking a modification rather than falling further and further behind on their payments.

Some of the circumstances that can justify a modified child support order include reduced income, unemployment, increased medical costs, changing custody circumstances and other costs associated with the child. For example, if a parent takes on paying a large bill on behalf of the child each month, this may mitigate direct child support costs.

People who are struggling to make ends meet may not be sure how to deal with a growing child support debt. A family law attorney might help a parent to file a motion for a child support modification and present evidence and documentation to back up the request.

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