Modification of Child Support: Don’t Avoid Paying

It’s human nature to want to avoid unpleasant experiences.  That’s why there are so many cavities and income tax extension requests.  However, one thing that people should not avoid is paying court-ordered child support.

Not everyone follows this advice.  According to the Trumball Patch, one man faces two years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine, on top of the $175,000.00 he owes in back child support.  Apparently, his aversion to paying child support persisted since 1993.

If you have been ordered to pay child support, and there has been a substantial change in circumstances that has affected your ability to pay, in Florida you may have the option of seeking a modification of your child support order.

The change in your ability to pay must be significant, permanent (or at least for an extended period of time), and involuntary.  So, for example, a judge may not grant a modification of child support order if the reason your ability to pay has been affected is that you quit your job because you didn’t particularly like it.  Quitting would be considered a voluntary act and, accordingly, not a basis for modification.

To get the ball rolling, you must file a Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Support.   A final hearing on modification may take place many months after you file your supplemental petition; however, your judge will have the option of making any change in child support retroactive to the date you filed.  In other words, the sooner you file, the sooner your child support obligation may be reduced.

So don’t just avoid paying child support.  Do something about your obligation.  Contact a family law attorney if you have questions about modifying your child support order.

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About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at www.FamilyDiplomacy.com. Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
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