Florida Court Explains Grounds for Upholding Orders Modifying Child Support

Co-parents often disagree over the terms of their shared custody of a child or what constitutes an appropriate amount of child support. As such, in many instances, they will rely on the courts to define their rights and obligations. A party’s situation may change over time, though, and what was once an appropriate order defining custody and child support may need to be modified. Parties that disagree with modifications have the right to appeal, but generally, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case, if a court’s ruling is supported by substantial evidence, it will be upheld. If you need assistance with a child support matter, it is advisable to consult a skilled Miami child support lawyer promptly.

Background of the Case

It is alleged that the mother and father had a child in 2016. Prior to the birth of the child, the parties acknowledged the father’s paternity and developed a parenting plan. The trial court subsequently entered a final judgment of paternity in which it incorporated and ratified the parenting plan the parties agreed upon. Two years after the child’s birth, the father filed a petition to modify child support and the parenting plan. The court granted the father’s petition, and the mother appealed.

Grounds for Upholding Orders Modifying Child Support and Custody

On appeal, the trial court’s ruling was upheld. The court noted that the trial court entered its order granting the father’s petition for modification following a seven-day trial during which it considered evidence from the parties and their experts. Further, the order, which was thirty-four pages, set forth explicit findings of fact that were supported by evidence that was substantial and competent, and thoroughly analyzed the statutory factors of Florida Statute 61.13, which guide the courts in determining what is in a child’s best interest.

The court elaborated that when there is competent and substantial evidence demonstrating a significant change in circumstances, a modification is in the best interest of the child to which the order in question pertains. Further, the court noted that in cases involving child support modifications, retroactivity is the rule, not the exception, and when circumstances that prompt a modification of child support obligations are present at the time a party files a petition for modification, failing to order the modification to be retroactive to the date the of the petition’s filing demonstrates an abuse of discretion. Thus, the court upheld the trial court ruling.

Talk to a Seasoned Miami Attorney

While parents typically want what is best for their children, they may not agree on what that means in terms of child support and custody. If you have questions regarding your parental rights and obligations, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney. The dedicated Miami lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. can assess the facts of your case and help you to seek the best legal outcome available. Our office is in Aventura, and we regularly represent people in family law matters in Miami. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to set up a conference.