Modifying DSOs In Florida
Domestic Support Obligations are part of almost all the divorce cases in St. Lucie County. Child support is usually based on the number of children, the incomes of both parents, and the obligor’s proportional share of that income. In most cases, child support payments terminate when the child turns 18 or graduates high school.
Spousal support is a little more subjective in terms of both amount and duration of payments. Both short-term and long-term alimony are available, depending on the obligee spouse’s economic need. Port St. Lucie judges set the amount of payment based on a number of factors, such as the standard of living during the marriage and the economic contributions of each spouse.
Economic and other circumstances change quite frequently. Therefore, DSOs usually must be legally modified at least once every three or four years.
Child Support Modification in Port St. Lucie
Just like initial determinations are rather objective, many motions to modify are objective as well.
If an obligor’s new income would increase (or decrease) the support payments by at least 15 percent, the law presumes that there is a substantial change in circumstances. If the judge grants an increase, it is usually retroactive to the date of the income change. However, decreases are usually not retroactive.
The job change or other income change must have been a good faith change. Obligors cannot quit high-paying jobs simply to reduce their child support obligations.
Other child support modifications are possible as well, because the original order was not exclusively a function of the parents’ income. Some other possible modifications include:
- Parenting Time Changes: If the proportion of overnight visits changes substantially, it may be necessary to revisit the child support obligation. The non-residential parent may be entitled to a lighter burden in these cases, since this parent assumes more responsibility for direct expenses.
- Expense Changes: Children get older and outgrow day care. Sometimes, other expenses take the place of day care costs, like medical bills or agreed private school tuition expenses.
In these subjective modification cases, the moving party must establish that circumstances have substantially changed, that change is permanent or long-term, and the change was unanticipated at the time of the prior order.
Alimony Modifications in Port St. Lucie
Especially in recent years, spousal support has become much more controversial than child support. Many obligors (mostly men) resent paying long term support to obligees (who are mostly women). AT the same time, many obligees rightfully point out that they depend on this money and often gave up some rights during the property settlement to obtain these income streams.
The same substantial change in circumstances test applies in all DSO modification cases. Retirement may be a substantial change in circumstances, provided that the obligor retired in good faith. A new committed relationship may also constitute changed circumstances, even if the obligee does not legally marry someone else.
Other modifications may be available as well. For example, if a spouse is receiving rehabilitative alimony, failure to follow the rehabilitation plan may be grounds for modification.
Count On Aggressive Lawyers
DSO modification is one of the most common post-divorce legal matters. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.