Whether child support has been established by the court or if you are thinking about filing for divorce, many parents are wondering how the Covid-19 Pandemic will affect the calculation of their child support.
Florida sets out a formula to determine the amount of child support owed in each case. The formula is based on the number of children, the number of overnights each parent has and the income of both parents. An existing child support obligation cannot be modified unless the parent seeking the modification can show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances and that the increase will be greater than the statutory amounts.
What happens when your spouse is laid off due to the Covid-19 Pandemic? It is possible that child support may be reduced due to the parent’s involuntary loss of income if that parent petitions to modify his or her child support obligation. However, not all loss of income is involuntary. For example, if a parent decides to quit his or her job to explore employment that is less than they are capable of earning, a court will likely keep the child support obligation the same. Gerville-Reache v. Gerville-Reache, 45 Fla.L.Weekly D1425 (Fla. 1st DCA 2020).
However, Covid-19 may also serve to increase child support for a parent in need. For example, if a parent loses their job due to the pandemic and needs additional support and the other parent is otherwise employed, there may be sufficient substantial changes in circumstances to seek a higher child support amount.
Not all child support increases must be done in court. Hiring an experienced Family Law attorney to review your case could result in the entry of short-term agreed orders to increase child support while the parent in need seeks new employment. At the Law Office of Lisa Weber, we seek all avenues to get our clients results quickly and efficiently. Settlement can be a great tool to save both parents money and to keep families on good terms. However, if your case must be litigated, we are prepared to do so zealously.