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The Effect Of Additional Children On Existing Child Support Obligations

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Parents who receive child support are sometimes concerned that child support payments will decrease if the paying parent has other children. Depending on when the children were born and whether the other children receive support from the parent, there may not be any change to the child support that has been previously awarded by a court.

Generally, courts look to the statutory guidelines under Florida law to determine how much a parent should pay in child support. These guidelines take into account the income of the paying parent, and other factors, including whether the paying parent supports other children on the income. If a person who is ordered to pay child support has other children, this will affect the amount of child support a future child gets. Child support ordered for the second child will not be as high as the child support ordered for a previous child, especially if the paying parent’s income has not changed.

If a parent who pays child support has other children with another person, he cannot ask the court to reduce previously ordered child support in order to accommodate the other children. For example, if after Frank and Donna divorce, Frank is ordered to pay child support for the couple’s minor child. Two years later, Frank has another child with Sandy. Frank cannot petition the court for a reduction in child support in order to support his child with Sandy.

When a parent with child support obligations has additional children, he may get another job in order to ensure that he can provide for all the children. However, because of the increased income, the parent receiving the child support may want to seek an increase in child support. In a petition for modification based on the new income, the court is not supposed to consider the additional salary in computing the paying parent’s income for child support purposes. In this situation, if the court finds that the second job was acquired to support the other children, the court is not likely to increase child support for the first child based on the new income.

While the paying parent cannot file a petition for decreased child support based on additional children, if the parent receiving child support files a petition to increase child support, the paying parent can use the subsequent children as a defense against increased payments.

Using the example above, let’s say Frank gets a second job to support his child with Sandy. If Frank’s income increases a significant degree, Donna may wish to ask a court for an increase in child support. Frank can ask the court to consider his obligations to his additional children and not increase the amount of child support.  In doing this, Frank will be asking the court to go against the set guidelines for child support determinations. The court does not have to go against the guidelines. In deciding whether to ignore the guidelines, the court would also consider Sandy’s income.

Contact Us for Additional Assistance

If your ex has had additional children after your divorce, and you think you may have grounds for a modification of a child support order due to an increase in income, contact our experienced child support lawyers at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida, for more guidance on whether or not filing for modification is in you and your child’s best interest.

Resources:

floridarevenue.com/dor/childsupport/guidelines.html

flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2016/61.30

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