Can I Lower My Child Support Payments?

The child support order that once was workable may no longer be feasible. If your circumstances have changed, you may be able to petition for a modification to lower your child support payments.

You no doubt love your children and want the best for them, but that does not change the fact that you can no longer afford to pay the amount of child support you are currently paying. State family law courts decide child support payments by using a complex formula that factors in multiple criteria so child support payments are proportionate to your income as well as the needs of your children.

However, things change. The child support payments that once were completely reasonable may no longer be affordable for you. You may have even been found in contempt of court for failing to pay child support. Most parents want to do everything within their means to provide for their children, but means change. If you (or even your spouse) has gone through a substantial change in circumstances, you may be able to petition for a child support modification.

If you are seeking to modify child support, you will have to fill out the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (Form 12.902e) in addition to the Supplemental Petition to Modify and the Family Law Financial Affidavit. Speak with an experienced family law attorney to find out other forms and documentation you may have to provide to file a petition for modification.

So what exactly constitutes a “substantial change” in your circumstances? The judge might consider the following:

  • If you lost your Job
  • If you took a substantial cut in pay
  • If your child’s other parent recently got a raise or some other means of increased income
  • Your child desires to live with you a majority of the time
  • Your child no longer has the same expenses as he or she did at the time of the initial child custody proceedings (ex: extracurricular expenses, additional medical expenses, educational expenses)

Contact the Tampa child support attorneys at Robert Sparks Attorneys today if you are interested in pursuing a modification of your current child support order.